Here’s My Self-Peace
Written by Tina Maria Tran-Pizzi
When I was asked to write about mental illness or the likes of it, I have to admit, I felt a wave of overwhelm and the instant weight of straight. freakin. panic.
What if the topic I talk about is stupid? What if I disappoint Mai after she trusted me to deliver on something she is so passionate about? What if I’m the wrong person to talk about this? Who the hell do I think I am???? Other people definitely have it worst. What makes me so damn special?
But after I popped my anxiety pill with tea, recited some positive affirmations, a clear voice emerged, “What if it’s exactly what people needed to read?” This voice sounded like me and she was hard to find all these years. This new but familiar friend took me countless of therapy sessions and some good self-care for her to appear. It is still hard for me to keep her around because even till this day, my inner demons are still bigger than her and loves keeping her away from me. They tell me I don’t deserve to feel any sort of happiness. “You don’t deserve to feel good. What makes you think you do?” This dark voice, most of the time, would drown out my helpful friend.
I have learned that this self-loathing, self-sabotage, self-pitying, self-doubt and low self-esteem was taught to me at a very young age. I’ve grown up in a home where I am constantly told by my parents: “You’re not good enough”, “You’re not fast enough”, “You can’t do anything right”, “No one wants to be your friend”, “This person is better than you”. And as a child growing into her teen years, at the heart of when you are trying to figure out who you are, having such a big authority like my parents telling me that I’m not good enough, I believed them. It had such a traumatizing impact, that all this time, I went about my life thinking I’m a piece of shit. When I lose a friend, it’s because I was a shit friend and it was my fault, it’s not a 2-way street. My parents didn’t invite me to dinner again, just another night of me going to bed hungry. That’s because I’m a shitty daughter. I don’t deserve to be pitied or felt sympathy for. Not even to when I was molested multiple times by a cousin at a very young age. I’ve grown up believing that I deserved it and that even if I did bring it up to anyone, who would care? My lack of confidence and lack of importance made me pushed that trauma aside because I felt it is easier than to be disappointed when people just shrug it off. Who cares? So what? But that’s a different story for a different day I guess.
My toxic upbringing affected my way of thinking, me trying to fit in, every project I took part in, or not standing up for myself when it comes to bullies - I was weak mentally. How could I? I am a piece of shit remember? They bullied me because I did something wrong. I am ALWAYS wrong.
As I’ve grown to the age I am today, I’ve realized I have subconsciously surrounded myself with people who have the same tendencies of my parents. My peers possess the trait of being manipulative, passive aggressive, condescending, and every good deed they do for me comes with a price. My parents’ basic parental duties and love came with a price. Putting a roof over my head was a reward that I needed to work for and continuously keep. Not because it is their responsibility as a parent. Otherwise, I would be starved, ignored, or be locked in my room. It’s no wonder when someone does something nice for me, I am always skeptical and think, “What do they want from me?” It’s heartbreaking and completely exhausting. I don’t take them for granted and from the bottom of my heart, I do appreciate everything they have provided me, but the cost of emotional abuse was too much of a compensation. Something I would later have to pay in my adult life.
As I have entered this new phase of my life, I am preparing myself to have a child - physically, but most importantly mentally. Oh God, I’m working hard on my mentality for this kid. I’ve always joked around not wanting to have a girl. And I do not want a girl, but this urge is deeply rooted through fear. I’m afraid of snapping one day and turning into my parents (the bad part that is); like how a hero had a brain wire ticked in the wrong way and morphed into a super villain. I don’t want her to go through the shit I went through. But I know I would never put her in the same position, I am just terrified that I would disappoint myself and her if I did. I feel as though I’m not good enough to be a mother to a daughter when I desperately lack the positive exposure in that department. What is it like to be mentally supported and loved without a cause by a parent? To be loved unconditionally and mentally, and not one or the other, as if I could only have one choice.
But as they say, the cycle of this toxicity ends with me. And this journey of finding my self-confidence lies with the people I have surrounded myself with now. Uplifting people who genuinely love me, and care for my mental well being because that is just as important and part of loving me. Although I still struggle with self-doubt, I know I am worthy to feel like shit and I have the RIGHT to feel like shit. That is because I HAVE been through a lot and I HAVE been mistreated. I now understand that negative affirmations from others were the reason why I don’t believe in myself. So here comes me, undoing all the negative wirings in my head I’ve become so accustomed to. And damn, is it hard when that dark voice comes back.
But I have to admit I am different from my parents in a way where I am fighting my demons for this future child. It is healthy for me and for my baby to have a happy and healthy mentality. History won’t repeat itself if I can help it.