i took a break from writing. the emotions were too much to handle, i couldn’t find the right words to describe what i was going through. i lost all the inspiration to pen down how i felt because it was just too heavy.
writing seems to actualize whatsoever you’re feeling, reinforcing all the pain. ignorance seemed like the wiser alternative.
but here i am.
dawn is approaching and i’m filled with sweet melancholy.
this is my story.
for more than a year, i was suffering. for 18 years of my life, i lived in a perfect bubble. i was sheltered and protected from everything, from the “bad” and the “evil”. i had always seen the world in a pretty light. there were ups and downs, but there was so much color all around me. everything seemed nearly perfect, in that bubble.
when i turned 18, that bubble burst. i was sexually assaulted by someone – someone that told me he loved me.
“i’m doing this because i love you”, he said. my naivety led me into trusting the wolf in sheep clothing – i was outrightly manipulated. i didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.
a month went on and i consistently reassured myself that “this is love.” but how could it be? how could someone that claims he loves me cause me so much pain? i was so lost and ashamed of myself. i cried myself to sleep, every single damn night. the traumatic nightmares haunted me, day after day.
time after time, i psyched myself into believing those words he uttered.
and for a while, i think i did. but, it wasn’t long before i found out the truth – i was being cheated on this whole time.
i broke. its the kind of brokenness that leaves you speechless, tearless in fact. i remember standing by my window, in a state of shock. i refused to believe in the truth and began to repress whatsoever i felt. there was so much running through my head: “didn’t he say he loves me?”, “was i really that foolish?”, “where is my innocence?”. in those moments, i lost touch with God, pain and anger consumed me.
i was destroyed.
it wasn’t long before i fell into the arms of someone that held me in the darkest of days. someone that accepted my story, and held back all judgments right from the start. it seemed unconventional and absurd to fall blindly, diving in headfirst. but it was what i needed most at that point of time in my life.
but the war wasn’t over, it was only the beginning.
the start to a very long series of nightmares and monstrous attacks in my head. i’d wake up in the middle of the nights wishing i could just restart my life and remain in that perfect little bubble.
despite the trauma and the anxiety attacks, i tried my best to move on with life. i graduated from high school. it was a beautiful moment, but i was hardly getting by.
at that time, i had lost all confidence and security in myself. and so, i held on to this person and saw him as my protector. for the first time, i fell in love wholeheartedly. i was determined to make us work, i wanted us to.
however, distance kept coming between us. in due time, he left to explore the world.
i was alone again.
but we kept a promise – that i was going to spain to reunite with him after a few months. in those months, i battled with myself. i was up at 5AM, combating a whirlwind of emotions. it was the kind of pain that never leaves you, it just lingers throughout a whole new day. i took up 3 jobs, hoping to occupy my time and repressed whatsoever nonsensical invalidated emotions i felt. i was learning to make coffee at a cafe, i was teaching ballet to kids and interning as a marketing assistant.
i was also just trying to save up enough for my trip to spain.
the trip that never happened.
a week before departure, i ended my very first official relationship with someone i loved and cared for deeply. they say love conquers all, but i guess distance won this time around.
i was destroyed, again.
i felt bare and completely naked. i felt completely hopeless, like i wasn’t worthy of love anymore – i began to distance myself from friends and family. i felt like even God had given up on me.
i suffered – crying under blankets, gripping window grills and staring soullessly into the mirror. i wanted to give up on living.
i fell into a toxic coping mechanism. for a while, my mantra was “the more i repress, the faster i’ll be over it.” if i can prove to everyone else that i am okay, it means i am. i fell into the world of drinking, partying and lying as a way to “escape from reality” because i felt so trapped. i didn’t want to seem weak in any way and forced myself to portray a version of myself i wanted others to see.
desperately needing an escape, i impulsively booked a flight to taiwan. in less than 24 hours, i left. this was my very first solo trip. i embarked on the wildest journey of my life. for once, i wasn’t doing something for anyone else but myself. i wasn’t going to taiwan because it was a family trip, or because a guy wanted me to find him there.
this is heartbreak, i guess.
it was liberating and surreal. i roamed the city with nothing but a backpack and searched for backpacker hostels to live in for the nights.
wanting to explore the outskirts, i booked a train ride to Hualien. on the train ride, i remember looking out into the scenic view of the mountains and sea. i felt an immediate sense of calamity and tranquility, something i hadn’t felt in a long time.
my trip to taiwan made me bolder and braver than i had ever imagined myself to be. i jumped and swam in the taroko waters, hiking back drenched and eating a fig.
i went up to absolute strangers to strike up conversations and became friends with many of the locals and even explored several night markets with an American-Taiwanese family.
i remember sitting on the pebbles by the sea with a cup of hot chocolate clasped between my hands, accompanied by the sound of waves crashing gently unto the shore. i closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. i remember breaking into a smile, one of those smiles that happen because you suddenly hear yourself.
that was the start of my healing process.
although a step forward, the process wasn’t a bed of roses. in fact, it was far from perfect. self-doubt and self-sabotage crept into the depths of my soul every time something was improving. the trauma and anxiety attacks came in the most obscure and unexplainable times.
i remember in one of those nights, i broke down every wall in me – right in front of my mother, who took me into her arms with no judgments, loving me unconditionally. she provided me with unwavering support and constant prayers.
and that was when i experienced a love so strong – a love that made me strong.
fast forward, i matriculated into university, pursuing a course i love.
through the new experiences and people that i’ve been so privileged to meet, i’m learning so much about myself and this world.
everyone is going through something and honestly, we’re all just trying really hard to keep it going. but it’s not easy at all. in fact, sometimes its so suffocating. yet, we wake up each day, fighting those thoughts, pushing through all odds.
we will be okay.
i’m still healing, slowly but surely. i’m finding my way back to God again, slowly but surely. i’m falling wholeheartedly in love again, slowly but surely.
i’m lucky, i found an inspiration to write again. i feel like, i’m in touch with myself once more.
i am not the same nicolette i was 2 years ago, but that’s okay.
this is my story.