20 October 2013. 3:48 AM.
I’m writing from my desk, slightly hungover from last evening’s dinner. My sense of judgement is a little hazy these days, but I don’t think that will matter once I have disclosed the purpose of this particular…letter? I suppose so. Literature terms, to me, are nothing but an extravagance now, and yet I derive a guilty pleasure wallowing in their superfluity.
Last evening’s dinner was nothing but two bottles of rum and a handful of peanuts and a phone call to Jeremy, which I regret now. He said things to me that I wish I hadn’t heard, realizations that have led me to conclusions that were hidden behind the slowly peeling wallpapers and are now my personal poltergeists.
It’s been seven hours since I heard him, and every waking moment has been of dread and finality. I will not have the ability to regret or reflect once I’m done writing, and for some inexplicable reason, I want to document justifications for my ‘socially dramatic action’.
I spoke to Jeremy and told him I was miserable. He knew I was sinking, losing all my bearings. He told me I needed to stop interacting with people, with anyone, and spend some time trying to recognize myself. I uttered something incoherent in response, but I’m almost sure I asked him for a chance, to try again. He said he doesn’t know me, he doesn’t understand who I am. I yelled at him, because how could he say that when we’d been friends for almost a decade? He sighed and that agitated me. I threatened to hang up on him, even when I knew he wasn’t the slightest bit wanting to continue conversation.
“Listen, Isabel, you’ve spent eight years trying to be so many different people that I cannot keep up and empathize with every layer that jumps at me. You need to take a sabbatical and find yourself amidst all the personalities you’ve put on.” And then he disconnected the call.
So I’m going to pen my musings and dilemmas to clear my mind. I don’t want second thoughts about this.
In childhood, I spent most my time being the daughter my mother wanted me to be. I handled every responsibility, every chore that she dished out to me with care, and yet I seemed to mess up. With every disappointed expression I received from her, I attempted at carrying out tasks more efficiently. I tried to be a role model for my younger sister and we only concluded our days in vicious fights. I tried compensating in small ways; I was never the kind to make gestures obvious to the eye. Since my family was all see and no read, the misunderstandings dug chasms within themselves.
Making friends was not that hard. I could bend according to their mood, much like the poikilothermic fish, I guess. I picked up their traits with ease. When they asked me questions about myself, I said things that they would’ve liked or appreciated. I created new identities with every person I met, and maintaining these fables became an exhilarating activity. I became people I wish I had been and that helped me to ignore the magnitude of emptiness inside me that rapidly concocted self-loathing.
I wanted to be everything I was not. I wanted to be anyone, but me.
But the pretenses fell apart and I lost all of those who loved my company. The failure intensified my hatred, I became vulnerable to displays of affection. My relationships appeared without warning, like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat. I soaked up every little bit of attention and infatuation thrown my way, and my naiveté attracted those with hidden agendas. These affairs ended as swiftly as they began. I gave in quickly to confessions of love, I drowned myself mercilessly in heart breaks.
I wanted to possess everything a person liked. It sounds stupid, now that I think of it, but if I had intentions of continuing this life, I know that that part of me would remain constant. I’ve tried to sculpt my preferences according to the people I deemed important. I’ve tried to pick up their choice in music, their religious inclinations, their taste in meals, their idea of ‘the one’. And they watched me fail abysmally, stitching together shreds of cloth and scraps of metal. Each time, regardless of the efforts, I was abandoned.
After Jeremy’s advice and five hours of contemplation, I have realized that I am not content with myself. I don’t know who I am, I don’t know who I want to be. I’m a little girl in a candy shop who keeps going back to exchange her chocolate for another, simply because she’s scared of regretting her choice once she’s left the store. It took me twenty four years to perceive this, and now I’m too afraid to stick around and see what becomes of me.
I’ve been running around in shoes that weren’t my size, all the while clutching at a desperate hope that some day, I would grow into them. I am terrified of interrogations that ask me who I am, I am terrified of saying I don’t know.
So I, Isabel Latimer, am determining that this existence that I’ve maintained is futile, and I no longer wish to engage in any activity that requires me to be alive.