A Letter to a Reality
Dear you know who,
I want to confess: it is easy to talk to you as I do not need to try to find the perfect combination of words. The complicated part comes when I let the words out and I hear them myself, because the person I am most afraid of is me.
I keep thinking about what is right and wrong, and sometimes I am caught between the illusions of who I want to be and who I am. Unfortunately, I do not have a clear image of myself. There is always this uncertainty when I look at myself in the mirror. I am wondering, “which life am I currently living?”. Sometimes I close my eyes to search for silence among the noises in my head. Before opening them, I ask myself, “in which illusion will I wake up?”
Sometimes I just open a book in order to crawl inside a world that I consciously choose. I am afraid that if I look back at my memories, I will lose myself in them and I will not find a way back. That is a moment in which I want to reach your hand and not think about anything but the present.
Sometimes I hear, “when will you be back?” and it breaks my soul that there could be a moment when I will have to say that I will not be back. I always have to choose how to spend my time, which is limited, unfortunately. I am afraid of losing time and opportunities to hug people. I wish I could break into a million pieces and be present everywhere. I again have the stupid ambition of having everything without losing anything. It feels like standing in front of a closed door with the key next to me, but I cannot pull myself together to unlock it.
I am the one who always has something to lose. My mind cannot focus on living one thing because I am thinking about the next one. Everything is happening in parallel and I am trying to keep up. Even my thoughts break, unable to follow a certain flow. I am writing them as they jump from one idea to the other, from one illusion to the next. When I said that I lost most of the capabilities that I had, including expressing my feelings, this is what I mean. There is no shape, no context, no flow, no present, no future and no clarity.
Welcome to my process is all I can say. I hope this letter will give you an insight into how I am living my life currently and my thoughts -or better said, the thoughts I managed to gather.
We like to think that we can delay certain moments, to pretend that we have control over what the future holds. How many times did you delay a burnout? How many times have you said, "I can resist a bit longer" and just continued walking? When transitions are painful, you might think "I cannot deal with it now. I need to keep myself in one piece and finish this. Then, I can go through changes”. You keep denying it, but the transition is already happening. You keep fighting against the flow instead of going with it. People are the happiest when they get to live in this illusion of control.
Then there is the illusion of almost. Some people that we held once are now only present in pictures and videos. It might almost be as if we could feel the warmth of their skin again, but that is far from being true. We can only recreate the memories now. We can only relive what we felt in the past because our reality now exists without them. We smile with tears in our eyes, close them and move our hands towards a blurry image in our mind, as if we could touch them. There is a silent pain in our chest that is always going to be there. It is not going to diminish. But the world around it becomes bigger and the pain becomes tolerable. Still, sometimes it only takes one word, one smell or one feeling to rub salt into that little wound. We are almost sure that it exists only in our heads until something reminds us of it.
One of the illusions that I live in the most is that I am not able to hurt people because I am so gentle with their hearts. But the truth is that within this softness there is a brutal side that can hit unexpectedly. A gesture made a fraction of a second too late or an explanation given the wrong way can seem like a hidden sword waiting to fall.
I know that I should just take a step back. I can heal and give the feeling of safety from afar. Once I come closer, I might bring pain and situations that you have to get used to. I do not talk about what I feel because I have no idea how to use words and I freeze every time. Maybe I should have told you this sooner. Maybe I did, but back then all of this was insignificant because I was still far enough.
The moment when "I do not know" is the full truth, I can hear my voice breaking because I want to say or do something, but I do not know what. I have been feeling emptiness for a long time, so I became one with it. Maybe I can talk about memories because I know how to weave phrases together to explain them. However, when I realise that I can hurt someone, I go back to that empty place. I never understand how I manage to do it. Every choice reminds me of its consequences. What if I am not the type of person that can be loved? What if I cannot offer enough? What if everyone ends up suffering?
I am all over the place because I want everything and I am not good at finding balance. I hate to drag someone into this with me. I am not asking for any favours. I have been told that I do not want to settle somewhere, but not for someone either. That is not true. I am afraid time will leave a scar, because sooner or later, there is always a part of me that is pushing everyone away or tiring them with the consequences of my actions. So, if I am just moving around, I will not let time catch me; or at least this is how I am fooling myself. Still, I do not want to move around in a certain direction anymore.
I live under the illusion of time. Sometimes I start spiralling really fast because seconds are passing by and turning into minutes, then hours, then days, then weeks. It crushes me that I am reacting so slow. I look at you and see how time works for you. I see how my illusion is affecting you.
At some point, my absence becomes more present than my presence, but I am lost in this game of minutes and I cannot pull myself out of it. I feel that every decision that I make is wrong. I am constantly waiting for the next blow. I waste time trying to figure out if I am living an illusion or if this is my reality. I constantly feel like I am in a dream in which I am fighting my nightmares because I am tired of being terrified of them.
You might be wondering why I am doing this by myself when I am not alone anymore. It is because I have the constant feeling that people are trying to hide certain aspects from me to protect me. From there, my mind jumps into a sea of thoughts. Every wave that breaks on the shore is whispering "you are not able to handle it", "you are too fragile" or "you need protection from everything". I try to swim away from them, but I can still hear every noise they make.
Every time it feels like I am carrying everything I can on my shoulders to distract myself until I find a bench in the middle of the sea. Even though I do not need protection and I do not want help, I must admit that if I find that bench again, I hope I will find you there. Among all of this amalgam of thoughts that are swirling inside my head, it is your smile that reminds me to breathe.
There is a quote that we shared that says, "Do I love her? Of course not. Or better said, not yet.” I feel like these words explain in a nutshell the idea of delaying the moment when all the feelings hit. It is a matter of what tone the speaker is giving to the words. They can show pain, love, nostalgia or the desire to fall at the right time, when one is ready to feel everything.
There is one more detail hiding behind these words:. humans unconsciously think that faith spoils them by giving them the power to choose what will happen, what they will feel and when. This desire to delay things might come from old wounds. Since feeling safe is so rare and precious, everyone is trying to hold on to it before that “not yet” becomes “yes”.
But nothing waits. Waiting until we are ready is just a concept made up to give us an imaginary power over what we cannot control. We delay a "goodbye" or a “hello" until it hurts too much and it creates new wounds. We think that we can keep together two paths that are meant to go apart. We think we can avoid two roads that will cross at a predestined point.
It is waiting outside the train station to see someone because that was the last spot you met. You are waiting and scanning the crowd. Your mind plays games, making you believe that it is possible. Everyone looks like that person and at the same time they are not. But the illusion keeps you there when you should be somewhere else. What are you waiting for? Are you sure it is not only a memory that you are looking for? How can you be sure that they did not pass already? I can tell you that you are looking for a person that exists in your imagination, but who is not accurate anymore.
I have done that multiple times. I traded trains that I wish I caught. Still, I found you on one of the trains. I sat next to you and accepted the new journey. I took your hand into mine. I smiled and looked directly into your eyes. You see right through me. You see the battlefield that lies between reality and illusions that are still happening in my mind. I can get lost so easily, but I believe that this is real. Finally, I am not delaying the truth: I already fell and there is no way back.
We met before, maybe in another reality, but this time I can keep you in my present and give shape to the future. "The end is another definition for the beginning", as I told you multiple times, in multiple languages. I am still picking the one that vibrates the most with my soul. There is one more thing that I would like to ask, confess, explain or whatever word fits: “attraversiamo?”
With an open heart,
A work in progress
By Flavia-Ioana Tofan