CHILDHOOD PAIN AND FEAR INHERITANCE by Shreya Markendey

TO MY CHILDREN 

This Is Lily. I am 28, soon going to be a mother to beautiful twins. Lying here, emotionally makes me feel as if I am not as scarred as before. The same scarred I was when I was younger but I want those experiences to protect and teach my family not make them feel suffocated. I want my children to always have me to run back to, not like me, who had no one to run back to and how I enclosed myself from society. I am waiting here impatiently waiting for these births to commence and march right into and fill the void that still remains. I do not remember spending any time with my parents as they left me at the age of two and we had no family that I knew of around. Even after I was abandoned no one tried to find me. It was only after another two years someone found me living off the streets in the hubbub city of Rome that they took me to the care home. Now you must be thinking at least now I was feeling safe but I preferred the freedom by myself. I wanted to frolic in the chartered streets. I never understood morality, kindness or love coming my way. 

But this new sudden lifestyle was definitely life changing, it was the volta in my existence. I had bright blue eyes, golden locks and I was covered in dirt, I would get food once in a while but now I had the full service I needed. At this moment I am in a lot of pain, which will be worth it even if it leaves marks on me. That brings me back to my burn that I have on my right arm. I still believe it is a birth mark but this mark chose to stay with me throughout all the suffering. This story is hence why dedicated to my children for if in the future you ever feel like outcasts or different this may help you. 

Before my exhausting years of adolescence, I kept myself away from the chaotic world of responsibilities and favours. I never feared anything about everyday life, nothing at all. But there were always burdens of fears, small, minor fears. Fears that lurked beneath the surface. I knew they were there, they followed me, but never dared to touch me. Fears are these unpleasant emotions caused by a feeling of harm but to me they were harmless. I began to outcast myself for being fearless and strong, I believed that these characteristics seemed abnormal they made me deviate. But why was I blaming the fears so much for not being in my life, wasn't I also at fault? I was at fault for learning to never fear the fears that even came near me, never walk the walk that wanted to shame me and never dare to dream the dream that would scare me. I was the culprit for always staying away from the beliefs, the superstitions, the society, I isolated myself. It was me that locked out the reality and truth of life, I just wanted perfection but instead all I got was lies. Maybe that’s because perfection is a lie, and sometimes I wish I could have just burnt this lie out of me. 

I felt untouchable. Being untouchable meant that not only was I never able to act normal when faced with harsh aspects of life but I also was not liked by the corrupted society that call themselves humans around me. If this world really did have any humanity within them they would accept me for who I am instead of out casting me. This feeling was not temporary. It felt as if even after I do not feel alive it will still linger, it was a mark of permanence, a mark to show that I was different. Whilst other girls went to school with hair tied sleek with an indication of perfection I would walk in unnoticed with a look so rough. The one thing I do not get till this day is the fact that if I was so different and unique then why was I not noticed? My whole childhood, I wondered if maybe my parents were still around would I perhaps feel more normal? 

I was four when I moved into the care home. I can’t really recall anything before that, whether I had siblings, whether I had loving or loathing parents, whether I feared anything even. That’s because after I moved into this place without anyone, I learnt to cope myself, alone. As soon as I turned five that summer I became used to the fact that I was never going to get the love. The worst part is I never knew if I had even experienced the love in the first place but all I knew was it was a perfect lie I was never going to have, like a lucky dime, it is like a metaphor for someone who has been there for you, someone you can hold on to and not feel scared anymore, but I never understood this, perhaps that’s also why I never needed to be scared when I have no one to hold on to. 

After a few long years I stopped questioning why I was the only girl that was too courageous that even the idea of death could not scare me. I went by with my life and never anticipated an answer, it felt too late for one now. Every night I would look out my window and watch lingering shadows of the eve vanish into the gathering darkness of the night and when the night did arrive everyone knew it belonged to the owls and coyotes so they would be afraid of the sounds and run away from its mystical view. But I would stare into the nature and anticipate the sounds of these creatures. 

But this calmness did not last for long. Some long hours I felt like I couldn't stare into the nature anymore. I felt as if things were starting to change. But was this change a positive one? Night after night I kept dreaming of the same burn spreading all over my body, it was as if the burn became meaningful. But what did it mean? 

After the age of twenty, I witnessed something so devastating. As I was on holiday with your dad I survived the fire in the Moscow shopping centre. It’s not “just fire”. To some it’s the be all or end it all. The weapon of destruction. Some fear this element more than life because it has so much power it can even take away your privilege to live. But was it giving me the same feeling? Was I starting to fear fire? For the first ever time I felt afraid... I wanted to live. 

Suddenly, I felt trapped. I was surrounded my heat, circles of pessimism and strong gushes of it coming at me. This weapon trying to attack me used to be the most beautiful weapon of all but in this moment, I could not feel at all attracted to it. Its ferocity came sneaking its way through the trees dominating me. The lambent embers leaped and entangled me in a fiery dance, in a hot air before cascading to everything around me, anything I touched it would destroy. I felt cold shivers rapidly run up my spine and my blood trembled as it swirled across my body yelping for someone to save me. What was this feeling? It was fear wasn't it? How could I suddenly be anxious to even look at something that used to seem so powerful to me, was I beginning to fear fire out of all elements on this earth? 

I screamed for help and woke up sweating, it was just a dream. 

However, fire is everywhere. The lighter we use to light up a candle, our fireplace decorated with hot coal, our gas… everywhere around us there’s fire. Then what is the real reason we fear this the most if we use it in our everyday life? Is it because it may even take away a life and maybe we aren’t ready to say goodbye to what we haven’t even considered ours? The real question for me always was why I seemed to always be afraid of fire in my dreams but in real life not feel any uneasiness around it? 

I was in this liminal state of being two people at once. In my dreams I was a child again with all these fears around me, tormenting me and trying to capture me but as soon as I'd wake up I’d be fearless again, the odd one out but still the unnoticed one. What more could I have done to be like everyone else? Should I have put on a disposition to be full of fears, full of anxiety and lie. Each lie leading to another to just be hated again in the end, what disposition would have seemed accurate? I wish I could have painted a face of normality and carved it slowly into the now so marred skin of mine. With each carve I would have engraved the idea of acceptance on all of my veins and stapled down the loose ends of my flaws but I couldn’t make it sound so easy. 

I began to wonder that perhaps my dreams were not feeling transcendental anymore, I felt as if I was really there, they felt real. But my real everyday life started to make me wonder if it felt more unreal than before. 

That’s when I realised I had been hoping that the girl in my dreams was me in my real life but that girl was not the best version of what I wanted to be. I had been living in this false reality that took me ages to wake up from and when I did I had come to the conclusion that all this time I didn’t notice the reason why I was different. It wasn't because I had no family. It wasn’t because I had no home. It was because I had been surrounded by many variations of fears and children that had their own stories that I somehow conditioned myself from blocking out the negative thoughts. My dreams every night would hint messages to me like a endless trail leading me nowhere but my destination was always here. I spent nearly my whole life questioning why I was so different I forgot to answer it myself with why everyone is the same. It was not me that had the issues it was the way society viewed these so-called issues. 

Everyone fears something and so did I, I just could not identify it. All along my fear was why I wasn't normal and today I finally overcame that with accepting the fact that I am unique. My fear of love and warmth was this burn that slowly was spreading not only on my body but in my dreams too, and when I couldn't control it, it took its toll on the world too. But that made me appreciate life a bit more and you should too.