I was only a child when I met you, but I fell in love immediately.
You made me powerful. Decisive. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued. I didn’t realize how hurt I was that my father wasn’t the dad I wanted — wasn’t white, wasn’t athletic, didn’t try to understand me, didn’t know me. You were always with me on visitations with him. I didn’t know how to deal with him not being the person I wanted him to be, so you showed me how to be impatient, interrupt him, talk over and above him, make fun of his English, criticize his social skills, walk faster than him and leave him behind, shut him out, manipulate him, shout at him, mock his incompetence, irrational thinking, poor memory.
You put me on a pedestal when I didn’t get the attention I wanted. You filled me with contempt and taught me to despise others.
You introduced me to Apathy so I could have you both at the same time and feel invincible and impervious to the world. You convinced me that I didn’t need my father, that I didn’t need my mother, that I didn’t need anyone. You tempted me with an addiction to food, something no one could take away from me, so I could feel filled when I was really empty, and just indulge until I hated myself. You spurred me to be argumentative and to always win, so I wouldn’t have to accept any truth that I didn’t want to bear. Even the truth that my father had failed me. I told you all my secrets because Apathy said you were safe and harmless.
You and Apathy were jealous twins of a lover. You kept me disconnected from the world with the pleasure of power.
Maybe I saw you in my first boyfriend, maybe I subconsciously wanted to be in your control as I started being drawn towards others, like Love and Friendship and Joy. You kept me close and when you took the form of depression in him, I turned to Disgust to rid me of you, but Apathy had already taken more of a hold than I had thought, and I couldn’t see past Apathy to know you were still there. I loved this boy, but after several of his suicide attempts, Apathy convinced me he’d be better off dead. Since I was better and stronger than him, to care for him by letting him go, so the ones closest to him could really live.
I liked being chained to Apathy disguised as Love because I thought I was free — free from hindrance, free from you. I didn’t realize that the whole time I was with Apathy, you were hiding in a corner of the room, watching us, watching me, eyes always open, never blinking. I didn’t realize you had never left, that you tracked all my steps, that you were in the background of every photograph, that you were the uninvited guest at every party. You never said a word, but you followed my every movement like a shadow.
At Bible school, I was convinced you were gone for good. But still you hid, behind Religion and Rules, even behind the name of God.
When I was raped, I had no idea you were there. I thought I had gone from everything familiar, from anyone that knew me. You hid behind Confusion and Cultural Justification.
The Apathy I thought was Love in having healthy nondependent relationships progressed from not relying on people to not relying on God. The Apathy I thought was Strength in moving on and putting others’ needs before my own turned from being selfless to being isolated and proud.
I continued to escape with food and travel so I could distract myself and spend more time with Apathy. I didn’t know how to navigate the world so I sought Apathy to help me procrastinate and choose to not make choices, to not accomplish anything.
Anger, you’ve never left, but you’ve been more of a stalker than a faithful lover. I know it’s not all your fault, but Apathy doesn’t care to listen to me, and I just want a response. I haven’t felt true passion for anything in a while because Apathy has moved in and kicked my dreams and deepest feelings out of my heart so they’re just hanging out on the curb, waiting until there’s room for them to come back inside.
I’m opening my heart, but it’s pouring out there, and I’m standing in the doorway, watching the rain.