those little tiny voices

I don’t think i’ll ever understand 

 

all in all, as a man cusping his 30s, i’m a man (or something like that) that has been plagued, traumatized, beset by the majority of relationships. the definition becomes loose here, convoluted almost- only emboldened by my continuing, gross amount of overthinking i complete in a day. and the micro-aggressionist vibes i get from misunderstanding people i’m supposedly building this relationship with.

 

  • by relationships, i include intimate ones, platonic ones, familial, and even ones i consider “lesser” on the scale, like work relationships, or whatever. 

before I became a young adult delving deep into his late twenties, I was a whippersnapper, wide-eyed, naive, wnd somewhat of an assimilating conformist. I refused to believe i was sensitive. i wanted to have things that other people seemed to have under control (and probably did) and acted as if it were a part of life

 

family members – like the ones where cousins are siblings, uncles and aunts are second parents, your grandparents’ aging connects with you on an interpersonal level. as if the realization of the proverbial finish line gives you a sense of meaning and unity.

 

 close friends with quirky, funny, personal,  inside jokes. the one that breeds envy from others with friendships nowhere near in the same stratosphere of awesome. not-so close friends, but close-enough to share witty exchanges, bigger-than-small-talk jargon, and the ability ro head-nod each other afar from the local small town bar were visiting with our significant others. stuff like that. 

 

the act of being so ensconced into a traditionalist mindset was a reachable goal to me, not because of this head-on-straight collision with conformity- but rather the normalcy it promised had given life to a series of necrotizing relationships i’ve experienced thus far in life.

 

 

Of course this was enticing to me. i craved having my family happy because i’ve obtained something. 

 

i think this is part due to immigrant child syndrome. 

 

i don’t know if it exists, but it’s definition to me right now is- to want to make your parents happy who sacrificed leaving their home country to give you a better life. in theory, and in reality, the prospect of giving that gift to your parents not only extends the martyrdom of the syndrome,  but it imprisons your flexibility into providing what’s right for you.

 

as muddled as my relationships with everyone got, the more I chalked it up to there being a problem with me- or everybody else. 

 

because of this i went into a highly engrossing apathy stage in my life. 

 

i personally feel every would-be philosopher entrenching themselves in existentialist dogmas at a early enough age, comes to experience a slither of what true apathy is. whether or not that’s true or close to the truth can only be compared to what i actually went through. 

 

for me, i experienced it head-on, bracing its hellish ice against the warmth of my heart. and during these seasons of apathetic perpetuity?? i, sort of lost track of everything i wanted to accomplish. so i didn’t accomplish anything. 

 

and it wasn’t because i didn’t care- entirely. it was because i didn’t know. i didn’t know what i wanted, who i wanted or what i wanted to be, think or demonstrate. my apathy was interestingly fucked up. i’ve had traumas of not eating and,for lack of triggering a picture of incertitude and depression- pretty much  living as a kid who didn’t know the outcome of the next day- for many, many days, weeks. years. 

 

my sensitivity

was something that i didn’t know impacted me till’ recently. i didn’t know i had to stand up for myself.

i didn’t know i could without puffing out my chest.

i didn’t know i was supposed too, or if doing so would awaken the powers that be that prohibit you from exhibiting any emotion at all other than a stoic, serious demeanor. 

 

i mean that in all senses of the word.

i wasn’t allowed to show emotion. I couldn’t be upset, i couldn’t be sad. hell, if i were happy it would be too much. 

 

for reasons connected to the the destructiveness of overarching masculinity, i still haven’t rightfully seeked serious help, or even help with identifying whatever i may be feeling. 

 

the reasons are irony, but being a latino, and also, a man for that matter in this atmosphere doesn’t seem to latch onto itself. not only do i fear of what i have to say- but deep down there’s a voice that tells me nobody cares.

i know it isn’t true

 

but there’s a literal crippling ghost that grabs my windpipe anytime i think or want to act otherwise. 

 

i didn’t think i’d make it to thirty- truth be told i’ve written a myriad of  posthumous poems about myself in my late twenties. the fact that i’m here defies the voice i’ve heard for what seems like my whole life. when i made it to thirty i wanted to call a younger version of me and just cry with them onthe phone. when i turned 30, i wanted to celebrate it.

 

the real celebration took place in my head. it wasn’t a celebration. it was a million i-told-you-so’s from another voice that was championing my defiance for so long. it was every time i got myself up from utter defeat. lifeless nights spent on my bedroom floor with tears unobstructed by anything but the hardwood floor, and substantiated by gravity and depression. 

 

what got me through it sometimes was some sort of new-age breathwork.

 

id put my headphones in and listen to this somber, muffled versino of myself over classical melodys. my nose clogging due to drive-by scenes of lacrimation only exasperated by the sound of my deep breathing, which in turn made everything much more impactful. besides my confused dog nestling up to its owner to provide comfort, the only thing that i felt stood in my way was myself

 

in a way, we all stand in our own way. 

 

but i had stories. excuses. truth tied to it.

 

i had, sadness and depth attached to it. in a tiny impermeable knot.

 

i had things other people in my situation never experienced. like i said, my situation was unique, singular, and hyper-focused. i felt any therapist or doctor couldn’t relate. as if my personal disease was too new to be diagnosed under the veil of their books and degrees. 

 

sometimes it was true. sometimes, i didn’t make sense.

 

sometimes people would tell me i was probably stressed. 

 

and i sometimes believed them.

 

i sometimes wanted to end my own life. and i sometimes almost went through with it.

 

i consider myself a very smart person. a rational person. i man with endless patience, but who takes shit from no one for a certain length of time. so it struck me. why did i want to hurt myself? so stressed people really hurt themselves or want to go through with it? it was only intensified by the looks of horror from friends of the relationships i feel i wasn’t worthy enough for.

 

in my early twenties

 

i was engaged. i got engaged to someone, or something? it was odd. the very basics of it was intoxicatingly confusing. i think i felt the need to take such a big step, honestly, just to feel.

at the time 

 

i didn’t feel anything. this was the perfect recipe for someone to fall into the depths of the world so that they could feel. i could’ve easily fell into gangs, drugs, and more. 

 

the world was open to me. morally, my apathy was obstructed by disinterest. i somehow thank, that voice that cheered me on. muffled and battered deep into my psyche. 

i knew i cared for her. but she never gave off anything more than surface level affection. and it was limited. i thought me playing chess and tip toeing was what love was. i thought i had to hide myself in order to achieve that sense of normalcy. that desirability to achieve what others were was, for me, intoxicating. i had to have it. i didn’t know why. i wanted to achieve something and have feel-good chemical reactions in my brain. the ones i remember from when i was a child. but, she didn’t afford me that privilege. the distance she kept me at and the distance i healthily craved were lost in a sea of depression. 

 

i didn’t know any better- to me that was the basis and epitome of love and companionship. but, i’m oft to hard on myself, i had zero examples growing up, and from what i’ve heard, anything in television was exaggerated. so i took those two precedents and gauged what love was to myself. being a human was hard. my blueprint was given to me at a young age.  i had to hold in my emotions a lot. i couldn’t be sensitive. or react. side note: IM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE. sometimes, the point of my sensitivity is white-hot intense, but i’ve safeguarded it’s exposing with layers of personality traits disguised as my actual personality. yippee. 

 

i’ve come very far.

that’s me giving myself a pat on the back. even now, any relationship i encounter is given a scope of eyes and scrutiny. i try not to question everything. but, the two voices sometimes agree. the one that was telling me mean things tells me that i should be more careful. it’s cynical. it doubts everything, and almost feels like it cares about me. my other championing voice tells me i should slow down, that this is good, but i’m much too inexperienced. 

 

when they agree it becomes a battle for me to talk. to speak. why listen to decade old child-genius ghosts of myself? why not ask the person i’m dealing with for more clarity? why not communicate? why am i googling what makes a narcissist? 

 

“A NARCISSIST?” i frighteningly exclaim

 

“i’m not a damn narcissist. i’m the nicest person i know. i truly mean that.”

 

 i walk away … and whisper

 

“that’s probably what a narcissist would say...”.

 

i’ve silenced my inner critic. i’ve done the work. i’ve tried to heal many aspects of myself wounded in battle. in life. 

sometimes the voices win. sometimes i can feel one trying to choke me and another hand fighting it off. i literally feel it. sometimes, i just want it to stop. not me, but the world. time. i want to stick a gigantic rod into earth and stop it from spinning. just fucking stop it all. 

 

the split

 

when me and my ex-kinda-fiancé-friend split, it was dirty

 

there was an entire monologue given by me. i poured out my entire heart. it was excruciating. it was one of the most painful things ever. it was done in the dark, light lightly dimmed. sitting in chairs across the room from each other. tears and mucus dripped all over. it was messy. i spoke for what seemed like a few hours. zero interruptions. i let everything out. i gutted myself. i was so fucking chaotic and loud i didn’t hear my voices anymore. when they interrupted i told them to shut the fuck up. i told her to shut the fuck up too. everyone in the room had to shut the fuck up, because i had something to say. she, was indifferent. the blow that had to my entire being was deafening. but crucial in how i ended up developing and identifying how i felt what i did. how i wanted to change it

 

i never felt something like that. i’ve never felt like i defended myself until that day. i’ve done so more since that day. and i feel everytime i write about my past and my demons, that i do so again, and again. the fact that i’ve been thinking about writing this before i even turned 30 speaks to the complexity of time and how often things in your head can give off a time-warp. i want to continue defying voices. norms, standards and traditions that plagued me. traumatized the beginnings of everything i’ve wanted to fight for. i want to be honest with myself and the next person i’m vulnerable with. i want to be able to communicate that inexplicably. i want just me and that soul in the room. 

 

no norms, 

no traditions,

no rejection 

no apathy

no indifference 

no doubt

no indecision 

no more little tiny voices. 

Published by Cristian Leonardo

Cristian's Cafe. This is my cafe, we have Wi-Fi, but it's not very good. Poetry, Podcasts, Research Articles, Open Mic, Comedy, Art. An entire website dedicated to my many forms of expression and happiness.

3 thoughts on “those little tiny voices

  1. Thanks for sharing. Sorry that it’s been so hard at times but you definitely should credit for yourself for coming so far. I relate somewhat, also being sensitive and finding nearly all relationships difficult. I wondered if it’s ok to re-post this piece on my blog, with a link and credit to you? I write and, also, share stories about anxiety and sensitivity.

  2. Too damn relatable. I don’t know how you do it, but don’t stop. Don’t.
    Reading through that reminded me alot of things, growing up . How I wanted to be normal and have everything under control like everyone else, wanting friends I could hang out and go on adventures with, a best friend I would have a secret code with, oh boy. Alot.
    Please keep writing, for yourself and for the rest of us.

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