I never felt like I’ve belonged anywhere. Not to any one place or person. I’ve been uprooted and replanted many times, shifted affections from opposing ideals to another. I experienced a kind of mental whiplash that I only notice now, having been brought up as a polite Asian kid. I have to accept things given to me without wanting them. Hand-me-downs, gossip, attempts at religious conversions, etc. I took all of these with confused gratefulness. I must be happy people give me stuff, right?
Broken homes and warring parents, painful words that melt skin. “I never bad-mouthed her! anyway, she used to flick your lip without any reason”, what does bad-mouthing mean to you anyway? No. No. I’ll break your belongings since you didn’t do what I say. Oh but I love you. I love you. Pick her and her toxic ideals. Pick him for his cowardice. Pick the other person because you have to.
I’ve only yet realized that I don’t have to accept things given to me without my consent. I didn’t want them, so why is there guilt in inheriting the bones of unearthed blame and hatred? So I took them because they were handed to me, locked in this cycle of accepting “rewards”, keeping them for the sake of waggling tongues, then realizing they are much too heavy to bear, discreetly discarding them, losing them, shedding them like skin. I feel much freer, but then people will come along to chastise me for doing it.
Why are you so ungrateful? They helped you a lot, you know? You accepted them. Now you don’t want them. It’s part of you. Take it. Take it. Don’t you dare run away. Don’t you dare hide.
In a culture where the ties that bind are so tight they stifle, there is no sympathy for people who dare break away. But can they blame me for running? I am a simple person. Most of anything, I want a happy life. I see something toxic, I avoid it. I don’t confront. I have far better things to do. I’d rather cultivate a life of choices, of people I want to be with because they enrich my life. This may be a form of cowardice, I have accepted this. I am not nearly strong enough to face it. But perhaps, this is me growing the strength to say no, I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to be subjected to mental torture, to exhaust my good cheer, to poison my well of good nature and expect me to want more. I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into doing things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to sit in a chair and forced to drink poison that change me into a monster. It isn’t about the fights or the opposing ideas. There are simply, people who suck you dry.
So can you really blame me for running?
The funny thing is yes, in fact they could. And they will.