Understand the things I say
Don’t turn away from me.
Cause I spent half my life out there
You wouldn’t disagree.
D’you see me, d’you see
Do you like me, do you like me standing there?
D’you notice, d’you know
Do you see me, do you see me?
Does anyone care?
-- from the song Ode to My Family, Cranberries
Does anyone really care? Well.. probably not. We just keep convincing ourselves all the time that they do.. That at least someone out there does care. Years and years get wasted during which we hold on to this belief so firmly.. Until one day the shock of discovery slaps us on the face. But that's only the case with those who care to know, to discover, to get to the bottom of things, to rip off the external flesh and get down to the bone.. While others are merely statisfied to dwell in their own dreamland. I happened to be among those who cared to know. I ripped off the flesh, I saw the bones, I got down to the marrow. Would you consider this to be a bless or a curse? Or shall I be asking you the tougher question.. Do you know? Can you see whether those who claim to care for you really do, or not? Or are you still wondering "Does anyone care"?
You were living in another world,
tryin to get your message through.
No one heard a single word you said.
They should have seen it in your eyes,
What was going around your heart.
Ooh, she's a little runaway.
Daddy's girl learned fast
All those things he couldnt say.
-- from the song Runaway, Bon Jovi
And I walked out of childhood on tip toes. Daddy's girl learned fast all the things he couldn't say. But there was a lesson I had to learn before I finally decided to raise myself up.. I had to discover that nobody cares. I had to discover that I am all on my own. I had to lose hope in any aid coming from those who always said that they "cared". Once this happened, I was ready to hit the road and start off on my journey towards the unknown.
The moment of discovery is always painful. Remember when you discovered that your favorite cartoon character does not exist in the real world? Or when you discovered that you are probably the only one who didn't know that it is normal for people to lie? Or when you discovered that men and women have to engage in a sexual act to be able to reproduce? Let me tell you that the worst shock of all is discovering that those who shaped your world did so in a way which serves their own interests and according to their own opinions of what is good and what is right.
They always told us that everything that is good has to be right and vice versa.. Yet, they forgot to mention what they actually meant by what they consider to be good and what they believe to be right. Maybe that's why our parents never had the guts to admit that they brought us up by saying lies. They used lies to threaten us and prevent us from doing what they believe to be wrong or inappropriate. They used lies to make us obey them. They used lies to tempt us to do what they believe to be good and ethical. They used lies to prohibit our inquiries. They used lies to reduce our demands. They used lies to silence our curiosity. They used lies to make us pray and learn our religion. They used lies to convince us that we looked cuter in a less expensive outfit. They used lies to make us submissive and unadventurous. They used lies to make us dependent and afraid. They used lies to make us believe that they are the owners of truth.
I certainly needed an earthquake to shake (what I thought to be) the solid ground I was standing on. As a child, I've always felt like there were things hidden away from me. I always felt that I was in the dark, and that there was some kind of secret which I was not allowed to know. There was no clear reason for this feeling, but it was there.
Most of us didn't know what growing up means. We misunderstood results to be the reasons of growing up.. Like adding a candle in our birthday cake, or moving to the next grade at school, or buying a bigger size of clothes, and so on. But we discovered that growing up is much more physical than we thought once our bodies started showing drastic changes. Girls usually experience those earlier than boys. Yet, the appearance of those physical signs on either of them, did not ring a bell or act as enough evidence for their parents. The first of those signs for me were the change in breast shape/size and the appearance of pubic hair as early as the age of 9. Then of course came the menstrual period which I talked about in detail in this post.
The amount of anxiety was beyond imagination. On the other hand, the amount of negligence I received made me more and more troubled. How is it that they care for me while they knew all about this and never told me? How it is that they see me suffering and struggling under huge stress, but still don't care to provide enough guidance or support? Why have everything been suddenly switched to my mother, who only focused on cutting a conversation short? Why am I only invited to hear warnings and restrictions, which were not discussable and totally out of question? What's wrong with me? Why wouldn't anyone care enough to just talk?
The message was written in the air: You are on your own. You have to care for yourself from now on. But how could I possibly do that without a clue? How could I take care of myself all of a sudden while they invested so much in making me dependent on them? Where am I to go when I don't even see a single door? Where am I to go knocking? How could I find my way in the dark when I am all alone?
- Would you rather stand where you are?
- NO! I can't stay trapped in this limbo forever. But this darkness makes me totally blind.
- Feel your way.. Stretch out your hands as much as you can.
- I'm scared. Why have they turned their backs at me and blocked their ears?
- There must be a good reason. Perhaps you will excuse them later on.
- But they lied to me, hid things from me, and gave me false reasons. How can I know what is right and what is wrong? How can I differentiate between what's true and what's false?
- You have got all what you need.. You've got your smart brain and your sensitive heart.
- I am too young and I can't trust those to lead me, yet.
- Young? Look at yourself.. Your body can tell you that it is not true.
- Still, everybody believes me to be young. My body is not enough evidence.
- What would you consider to be enough evidence then? Do you have to hear it from others in order to believe it? Why didn't it occur to you that they are hiding that too? What if they don't want you to know that you are not young anymore?
- Even if that was true.. What about all the other girls of my age?
- What about them?
- They are all young and nobody told them otherwise.
- Fantasia, your parents are no different than all other parents. Look outside. See the big picture. Trust only what you know and feel to be true.
- If I am surrounded by lies, then what chances do I have in finding the truth?
- Lies are only there to distract us from seeing the truth. Brush off anything that doesn't make sense.. anything that doesn't find its way to your heart.. anything that contradicts with what you trust and believe in.. Once you brush off all those, you will be only left with the truth.
- How do I know that it is the truth? What if I need to brush off more from its surface?
- Fantasia.. Truth shines and lights the way. Once you find it, you will know. Its light will instantly enter your mind and heart, and there it shall rest forever.
- Forever?! What if I changed my mind later on?
- Truth is not the same as convictions. Truth is the basis for any conviction. Your basis will increase by time and experience, enabling you to revise your convictions and reform them. So while convictions may change, truth remains untouched.
- That sounds so hard.. How long will it take me to know all I wish to know?
- It will take as long as you shall live. Let your aim be not the destination, but the journey itself. As you live, you learn. And as you learn, you understand. And as you understand, you grow. And as you grow, you live.
- And when I die?
- When you die, you will be satisfied. You will end the journey with no regrets.. because you have lived. Choose to live, Fantasia.. In life you will find the meaning of everything, including death.
That's when my journey started. And my inner voice has kept me company ever since.. singing happily along the road.
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn
-- from the song You Learn, Alanis Morissette