Right now I am curled up on the sofa, hearing the crickets chirp the lull of the crisp New England night. The sky is a darkening blue-gray and cars are driving past the window.
Today, I am grateful for my classes, for decent food (I did’t have to cook), but most importantly, to be alive. It’s my first full week of classes in my third year at university. My favorite season, Autumn is approaching, and the smell of apples and pumpkins will soon permeate the air. Just kidding. Only on the farms around here, that is. Instead, they will permeate students’ clothing palettes and pumpkin spice lattes will be available at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.
As I greet the friends I haven’t seen all summer or all year, if they are coming back from studying abroad, I feel a sense of weight and guilt overtake me. Yes, this summer was amazing and had shaped me in many ways. Yes, I did miss my friends and do sincerely care about their accomplishments and where they will be headed after graduation.
What I really want to share is how anxious and depressed I have been feeling, how ashamed and fearful of not telling my friends, people I love and trust, that I am a survivor; that home is not a safe space for me emotionally.
Part of me is so full of fear, which keeps me silent. I fear losing people I love. I fear people asking questions and having my family hear about it. I fear people not believing me. I fear them spreading details about my personal life to humiliate me. Another part of me just wants someone to be there and support me unconditionally – something I have needed and was denied as a child and continue to be denied.
Today, however, I am grateful that I am away from home, feeling safe. For now, it is enough.
For now, I am working on building trust, and I will seek a counselor I feel that I can talk about my experiences with, without feeling ashamed and humiliated – emotions I have experienced all too often, growing up.
Healing is a long and arduous process, but one day I know I will be closer to the life that is free of shame, self-deprecation, anger, melancholy and fear – the life I deserve to live.