The Tale

The Tale ★★★★★

would you believe me?
the evidence is not there, the text messages long since deleted, the numbers and social media accounts blocked, the interactions long since over and the rest being reduced to memory. the one on one conversations were never recorded, never heard by anyone else and outsiders only got to hear the two differing perspectives and most came to the conclusion that this was normal. most people would tell you that they are a good person because that is how they appear to people, they are kind and funny and interesting, the person you want around you at a party or any type of social gathering. they are emotional and in tune with current events, passionate about the world and how to change it even after years and years of experiencing its minutiae, they are smart and charismatic and have a reputation of kindness. so when the people around them hear the horror stories, told from the autistic kid who no one truly understands, about the running away from home to get away from her and the screaming incidents and near constant abandonment in times of peril, do they believe? time passes and all that remains within their heads is not the horrors they witnessed, the screaming woman looming over her crying son wailing at him for ruining things, for being the disruption that he is, because they found a way to justify them, our memories and our minds do that to make sense of traumatic behaviours, of traumatic moments. and the more time goes on, the more the instances fade and the person causing the disruption by breaking apart everything stands in memory, the gap caused by the person who doesn't want to believe they are a victim, is treated with sadness and lingering melancholy from their own family. the victim grows to doubt themselves, to reflect on the gaslighting and cry themselves to sleep. because after all, who would believe a child over a grown woman?
would you believe me?
the evidence is not there, the text messages long since deleted, the numbers and social media accounts blocked, the interactions long since over and the rest being reduced to memory. the one on one conversations were never recorded, never heard by anyone else and outsiders only got to hear the two differing perspectives and most came to the conclusion that this was normal. most people would tell you that they are a good person because that is how they appear to people, they are kind and funny and interesting, the person you want around you at a party or any type of social gathering. they have a large personality and an ability to make you feel secure, for moments at least. they were smart and pretty and had nice eyes. the relationship lasted for a fragment of time, although in the moment it felt endless. would the people around you believe? believe in the constant manipulation of their partner's autism for psychological gain, of the constant insults and demeaning to the petty jealousy and controlling behaviours? no one else was there, everything seemed fine to the outsiders, and when it ended, it was just a normal high school breakup, just a first romance gone wrong. you reflect on these memories and you share them with those you love and then they invalidate them, and you doubt yourself, and you curl up in a ball and cry. she was smart and respected by all the teachers, and popular enough that most people liked her, no one would have believed the scars that were left. after all, who's gonna believe a kid with no evidence and a mental condition?
would you believe me?
my hands tremble as the memories come flooding back. it's been two years since this happened, two long years but the trauma lingers within. it's lost its bite, replaced by other incidents of greater circumstance and impact but on long lonely nights, it seeps its way back in, forever isolating me. i feel her breathe on my neck, i can smell the alcohol. she promised she wouldn't drink. the night's a blur, most of the details faded to time. i remember her hand on my crotch, how she applied pressure and tried to kiss me as my meltdown raged within me. i had never wanted to feel her touch less. i didn't say to her that she was making me uncomfortable, i just sat there for a while. i imagine myself in hindsight storming away, making a big scene and in my mind, i combine this with something else from my past, to make me look masculine and strong, like i'm not just a boy who is broken. her touch wasn't the problem, we were dating, i liked it when she touched me, whenever she felt like doing it, i craved her care and affection and felt like i loved her with all my heart. i just felt like exploding and she wouldn't stop and i couldn't calm myself down and i burst out in anger and left in tears. i was mad because i had the flashbacks to my childhood, about seeing a person that i loved so much soaked in alcohol in front of me, a singular image that still haunts my nightmares nearly 10 years later, i was mad because she broke my trust. she didn't talk to me for days after it and from that point on, i was never truly happy with her again.
would you believe me?
she used that incident as a cypher to guilt me constantly and made me feel bad about wanting to talk to a friend of mine or go and see her or even be openly bi. there was one day when i wrote a suicide note on my phone and planned to jump in front of a car, just so she'd care about me, she made me feel like i needed to die in order to mean anything to her. then when i outlived my usefulness or stopped having a sustainable enough mental health to be the person she could abuse with regularity, we broke up on new year's and i cried myself into the dawn of a new time. for a while, it felt normal, just these problematic incidents but nothing out of the ordinary, i tended to blame myself for the problems as i'm so often to do, but the more i talked about her with friends, the more they pointed out that this wasn't right, that i was a victim. my first instinct was to convulse, to shake, to defend myself and even her, because i couldn't believe that everything was a lie. when it hit, the realisation was the worst moment, my entire body sank into itself and my head spiralled and all these memories, all the things i blocked out of my head came rushing back in to hurt me. how do you cope with the fundamental truth that your love and your life is not what you thought it was? and how do you expect anyone to believe your pain when all you did was rave about how much you loved her and how happy you were? how do you believe in a boy like that?
would you believe me?
this is much harder to talk about. i've mentioned it before, detailed it before, but this is different, this is unresolved and still the source of my nightmares and dread. time has passed and has not healed these wounds, just let them fester and rot into my bloodstream, slowly poisoning me from within. i don't want to talk about this but it is important, even if you have read these words before in another form. i stood up and looked at myself in the bathroom mirror before writing this. it's 3am and my face is beaten and desolate. my eyes are heavy and the bags under them are more prominent than they have been in a long time. i wash it and stare at myself again, looking at myself with intensity and contemplation, wondering if i have the strength to do all this again, wondering what the point of it all is? but i think of this film and i remember, i can't let myself forget about what these moments were like to live, i can't let them fade away or be decided by other people, they need to exist here so i can't shy away in future, so that i can't just pretend that this pain isn't real. denying this would only make me and my life harder and there's enough of that already. it's new year's again, like it is every night in my dreams. when i wake up every morning with a bitter taste in my mouth and a clenching feeling in my chest, i know it's because of her but i can't share it. my dad asks me what the nightmares are about and i lie and say i can't remember or just say it's about anxieties because i can't have that conversation with him again, it will break me if i have to hear it again. it's hard enough when i'm on the phone with my gran and hear her pale voice asking me when all this will be sorted out. when will things go back to normal? and i want to break and tell her that her normal can't work for me anymore, that it broke me, but i can't, so i smile and lie and say goodbye.
would you believe me?
if you don't know the story, here it is again. on new year's less than five months ago, my mother broke me for the last time. our relationship had been erratic the previous few months, her temper and self control was getting worse and she would inflict verbal abuse on me during meltdowns, causing me, one night, to run away from home at one in the morning with no phone, keys or jacket, out into the bitter cold just to get away from her. i refused to see her for weeks until she forced herself down and made me spend at least an hour with her, listening to her cry and say meaningless non apologies and phrases of intended forgiveness, and she refused to leave until things were resolved. she was my mother, i loved her, i wanted things to be okay. i moved back in with her and the cycle continued, she was cruel at points and apathetic at others. the prelude to the rest doesn't matter, the details are out there and this is long enough already. by new year's eve, she had hurt me the night before but i was willing to start fresh because i was having such a good time and because i loved her. she was my mother after all. but she did something again, something that violated my trust and sent me into a frenzy. hours passed and eventually she came in to see me, instead of apologising, she was cruel and defensive and mean, and eventually things escalated until she was screaming at me, to the extent that i cowered on the floor, and she didn't stop, she didn't stop. she knew i couldn't handle people raising their voice, and she did it anyway, even when i stopped moving. i lost the ability to move or speak for the rest of the night, i could barely breathe and i needed help from my cousins to get to my room for the night. next morning, i messaged her and told her that i was moving out and that i didn't want to talk to her again, and that was the last time i've spoken to her.
would you believe me?
the incident made me reflect on everything, on the constant encounters where she would hit the wall in frustration, where she would start crying at me during a meltdown and make me be the one to console her, to the constant emotional manipulation and all those incidents that felt never ending. i reflect and now i can't look at the good moments with anything but despair and sadness. she was supposed to love me and look after me and she failed, and now i'm this being, filled with regret and guilt, who blames himself some nights for being cursed with a condition that caused her to hate me. she says she loves me, all i hear from family is how much she loves and misses me, but if that's love, i never want it near me again, i would rather die loveless than live in the misery of abuse. i read back through my old posts and realise that i had just blocked out my pains and my issues with my mother, reducing to big incidents, forgetting about the constant conversations i had with her about needing to change her behaviours, only for all to end with her crying and me needing to take care of her, and forgetting about all those moments of pain, so that life can go on and make sense. and then everything comes crashing down on you and you have no idea how to live. i've not even been here for two decades and yet i feel so overwhelmed with all this bitter agony, and still, most people just brush it off. it wasn't physical and you can't prove it, so who cares, and they continue to support and praise and defend those who caused me damage, so they can cope. the tale is the only movie i've ever seen that understands the crushing realisation of your memories being fallible, of your abuse being real and having to pick up the pieces that these false images built. i remember the week before i never saw her again, when my therapist and i realised that she was causing me psychological damage and i broke down in tears, not believing that it could be true, but knowing in my heart that it was. i left with tears in my eyes and sat in her car, having to journey home with the woman that was breaking me apart, having to pretend that everything was
okay. i can't pretend anymore.
will you believe me?

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