Confessions of a confused soul # 10 The Painful Memory
One of the earliest lessons I learnt in life was “Your pain is yours alone.” I don’t exactly remember how old I was when I finally learnt it but I do remember the first class which led to it. I was 8 years old and had injured myself while playing khokho at school. Both my knees were badly bruised and I had come home bleeding. I was given first aid at school but the pain was too much to bear. As I ran to my mom that evening in an attempt to whine about that, she looked at me very sternly and said, “Are you a coward? This is just a small cut and look at you. If you pamper it so much it won’t go away. Be strong and learn how to bear some pain. It will help you in life.”
I also remember how both the wounds had turned septic after a week for the lack of proper medication and I was on injectable antibiotics for 10 days. That injury did end up as two gruesome scars on both my knees each but that lesson also ended up as an unforgettable mark on my psyche. All through my growing up years every time I cried she would say the same thing, “Are you a coward? Be strong!” And my mind interpreted it as “Your pain is yours alone. No one in this world will understand it.” There began the ritual of long showers under whose guise I would cry my heart out. Before emerging from the bathroom I would ensure I looked as normal as possible. Gradually I had started alienating people from my life because I could see the same lack of empathy I saw in my mom’s eyes every time I shared my problem.
I tried, genuinely for many years to come. I tried confiding in her about how my heart hurts after my first heartbreak or how my not getting a promotion despite working so hard was giving me sleepless nights. But just one word from me would act like a trigger for her; she would begin her own story of pain and sorrow in life. Instead of trying to become a motivation for me (which I believe was her idea in doing this) it ensured I was pushed further into my own shell. I started cutting myself off emotionally and kept all the pain to myself. Today after almost two decades to that first lesson I am still confused whether that lesson helped me or damaged me. I see a lot of people collapse around me while I have miraculously managed to face things bravely when I had thought I had lost everything within me solely based on only one thing “Are you a coward?”
The only minus I have experienced or rather my closed ones have experienced is that I never share anything bad that happens not even the worst things. I go alone for all my checkups, I got admitted into a hospital myself all alone, when I had to shift cities due to some reasons I did it all alone – lock, stock and barrel! I am yet to find someone who is convincingly empathetic about my pain but then on second thoughts am I even looking for someone like that? Last year when I was detected with an auto immune disorder where my trigger was stress the doctor also confirmed it, “You are very strong hence your physical health has got affected and not mental health.” I burst out laughing thinking about my mother.
Call me strange, but then that is what defines me as I continue to believe, “My pain is mine alone!”