Tell me what am I?

This is an incredibly tough piece to write as I’d been struggling through my relapse to write this. I don’t know how many words is enough if I’ll ever be enough if I’ll ever find the right words for this. I never thought that friendships could come to such an end, to such... an abrupt end that comes with you blocking me, putting me through this emotional roller coaster that made me check your status daily, sending you messages so you could see them when you finally am open to a conversation again.

I found no outlet, and hence it took a lot for me to finally have the courage to pen it down... to finally write it down hoping to have some sort of catharsis. I’ll try to be as specific as possible, for this post is more than just a story. It’s a huge part of my life. You are... This is a long post. A long memory lane that stretches for years against time. This is an incredibly hard piece for me to finish, the worse, the hardest, the one that suffocates me for most as I write.

Have you ever really know me?
Beneath the jester of a facade, the one that dances and sings and hurl bricks at others from the walls that he’d built so high up that he’s lost in the clouds.
Have you ever hear my cries at night? The tears that streamed down like rain as I drifted to sleep.
Have you ever thought that my depression is actually real? When I was reaching out to you, but all you told me is you’d got no time for my negativity, and I’m unstable.
Not that I don’t actually know that I am...
Have you actually try to know me... for who am I inside, instead of that friend who’s playing sidekick like your accessory in crime, the one where you get to be the MC where I do willingly accompanied you in your ways because you saved me (yep you truly did).
Have you ever really try to know me?

I glitched this photo because our friendship had glitched... this is a moment, frozen by the glitch, in between perfect and imperfect, where everything that hides behind all the perfection surfaced. And this is one of the rare shot of us that I have so... uh yep.

*

I met K first, he’s the friend of my brother, an amazing guy-cum-baker no doubt. K’s one of my soulmate of a brother, the one that I can tell my stories to.. the one who “gets it”, the one who loves as hard as I am, and fall as hard as I am. K’s probably one of the rare few guys that I have comfortable silent with, not often due to our jerky masculine taking over us most of the time... but sometimes, things do weave through the cracks.

Because to anyone who’s reading on without any context. This is not a yaoi thing and I’m pretty straight. I’d like to believe that I’m seeing a female at this point in time. I’d like to believe... because that’s another complicated story for another time.

And you’re K’s older brother. You’d always been a stranger until we actually started gaming in the rift together. All of us share joy and laughter, the geeky thrash talks, slinging skill shots. We thrive together as a group and before we know it everyone of us drifted together, just like the lost continents who found each other again. You bought in several friends, like X whom eventually I felt comfortable with as well, the guy whom I had a lot of reservation against because he’s friends with my ex and he reminded me of her. It’s as if he’s the ghost that she’d sent to remind me of the darkness that’ll never see light again. But eventually, I begin to see X as less of a ghost, but more of a brother, like you. And like you, he became my family.

I had a terrible break up back then. The 10-year relationship took a mental toll on me. There are just so many things I didn’t know, as to even how to cope as I spent days curling up crying even though my eyes felt like dried prunes after days of crying. The tears never stop, they never seem to, as I relieve the horror day by day, over and over. You guys dragged me out, that faithful day of my revival. You put me at home, I remember I was so suicidal that I wonder what would happen if you guys found me dead when you guys came back. Then your sister came home. Then I decided to just sleep. Then you guys came back and I finally had my most fulfilling meal for once in a long time. You guys are more than just family, you guys had me when I was less... much less. You gush took care of me. I was so indebted to everyone involved that night because you guys are gold. There’s also V and J who’s always here regardless of my circumstances, and of course, my beloved younger brother who was there since the first night... But this story is about you and me.

Our group had a pretty peculiar culture of burning each other. To some people, they might find it toxic and offensive, but sometimes it could be. I was so afraid to say it some times when someone crossed the line. Because it would always be the premise of you “cannot taking the joke”. It might have not been a good environment for my mental health then, but I was happy with you guys. I was afraid of losing people, more than me feeling hurt and unhappy, so I kept it inside. It wasn’t exactly nice to see my past getting paraded, and I have to smile and laugh like I’m proud of it. Like those are battle scars instead of scars that hurt me every night. The war have their powers to keep you awake, even though they’d already ended, the cuts hurt like new, even though they heal... but are they really?

Maybe it’s because of what I allowed, the image that I cultivated, it felt like everyone had a mould for me and I didn’t resist it in the first place. But when I do, it’s too late. The mould has been imprinted. But is this really me? There are so many sides of me that you guys don’t know... like how I find physical appearances less important than you guys think. Like how I see the beauty in a lot of things. Like how I genuinely love postcards and sending happiness to people, regardless of race and gender. Maybe it wasn’t loud enough, maybe I didn’t make my stand. Time and again...
Did you know I didn’t pull out my English accent just for the sake of it..? I can’t help but speak like that, it wasn’t an act but it hurts when you guys called me out for it. It made me doubt myself, hate myself, when you guys scowl at my image as if I’m faking myself. I hated my persona for abit which... I thought my travel persona made me love myself more.
You called me a retard. It was the first thing that hits me... and it hits hard. A retard, over and over again, a retard... a retard... my friend, calling my true self a retard.
My mind spiraled, and after that I seem to have lost part of that charm that I thought I have (or had).

I love the days when we went to the gym together. The 3 of us. I love the vibes, and you were really helpful. It was because of the fact that you helped that made me want to push myself more. I was grateful for that, for that you made me want to be more. Which is why sometimes I’ll nag you to run, I won’t pressure you but any little effort that went down to running makes me felt like at least I helped you in alittle too. I was really proud and happy when you did your first 5km. I’m proud of you brother. You went out of the way for me, you helped me so much, I love how we worked out together, even though the 3 of us have a lot of chatter. You're generous, kind, helpful, and I love how the lot of us grew and improve together. It was nothing but a ton of good vibes.

I still remember when I started working Food Panda, I appreciate that you didn’t look down on me because it made me happy. It was something that I like and the flexibility allows me to travel. There’s this once when my scooter broke down and you helped me without any question. You picked me up immediately and sent me to Clementi to get it done, we had lunch and I never forgot your kindness for his. I thought you’d been there for me for my lows... You are family, truly. There are various instances like these, when you're there for me when I needed someone. You're constantly at the right time at the right place, and I thought you're right for me. You're my brother, my family; your family are like the one who're always there for me.

It hurts... you might think nothing of it but it does. I have... a lot of respect and care for you. I think... or rather I know you’re more fragile than you thought. I’d seen your lowest, I’d seen the prince shed tears, I’d seen how you know you hide behind your avatar. Maybe you won’t admit it, I always would like to think that you’re more human than you think. We had nights under my block where we talked for hours, where you finally unlock your chest and shows me the chapters that no one else should see. I began your secret keeper, I was so happy being so and I showed you mine too... but it made me felt weak when you read my chapters to someone else.

I never come in between you and your ex. If so it’s only for good reasons and if you allow or ask me to. There’s B. I was together with someone... I lied and said that it doesn’t matter anyway, but it does. It was so painful. It was actually even more so when I heard that you actually said things behind me, behind my back. I didn’t believe it at first... “how could you? I thought I’m the secret keeper?” I thought I’m different, but actually, I’m not.
Why do you say things that would hurt her, why would you tell your ex stories that lead them to her where she eventually pushes B into a tub of glass. I did nothing of sort to you, but what did I do to deserve this. The hurt that B had gone through, about us laughing behind her back when she got on her knees... when? I told only you, at that point, but you took it out as a joke with our boys. I have to act as if I’m okay with it, it was probably one of my regret that I let it slipped, I was confused, we had a talk till 6am in the morning, it was exhausting, and I should have been more private with what I was going through. Why do you have to hurt me like that? I didn't laughed at her like that. You made it seem like a joke, but it was my fault to be okay with it. I should have never be okay with it. She's a person... she is my person. But I didn't know any better to stand up for the person I love. 

It got worse saw you saying hurtful things about me, to her. And even saying bad things to her... you called the women I love a biatch. You said it to her via Instagram DM... and I let you... the one I gave my heart to, and I was too weak to even fight back, and I didn’t want to because I was afraid of losing you... as a friend, as a brother. I thought you have your reasons. But I never dared to ask why because I was afraid it would hurt me more. I figured it’s easier if it left buried if at the end of the day I lost her, this would just be a closed chapter. But the memories don’t fade as easy as I thought it would. Whenever R had issues we would go straight down, but only to have things ricocheted back at me. I was the one taking the shots for being there at you... but it’s worse when you were still talking to my ex. I didn’t even know that you guys are going to meet and you didn’t even tell me about it. I felt a raw sense of loss like I didn’t know what to feel. I don’t know how to make sense of my feelings nor do I know or want to label it. It just wasn’t a good feeling, that I know. The ghost of you and her haunts me, gnawing at me. I don’t know what’s real anymore. Have you ever try to undo the knots in my chest.
Stringing the poetry that was entwined a crossed the walls of my heart; protesting, fighting. I loved her bro. If you have to know, I really do. I love her possibly more than my first. I loved her with all my heart.

We once did a prank on you together, saying that B and I broke up. When you realised its a prank, you did take the joke too well and you threw a drink at my face. I stood there, taking it, and in fact I blamed myself for running the prank. What else can I do? I didn’t know... I thought that deep down you wanted us together, and you would hate it if we didn’t. But until I came across what you were doing... I felt alittle lost, and I wondered what was the exact thing that made me threw that drink right in my face. I’d never gotten thrown and humiliated like that before, and it’s the first. I didn’t mind it at all, surprisingly, but what I mind more was what made you do that... was it for me..? Or for you? I thought you did it because you hate that we have broken up, and you really want us to be together. It was worse when you met her behind me after we broke up. I didn’t know you are still in touch with her. It didn’t tally with my thoughts and emotions. Why would you do that to me, you didn’t even tell me when you went to meet her. I have to find out in the worse possible way. It hurts, I teared myself to sleep, for you or for her I don’t know...

***

As funny as it sounds, our misadventures lead us to this game that we used to play. A tinge of nostalgia and I followed you. You’re my soft spot you always are and always would be. I was well into my recovery from my relapse, I ran every other day, I’m writing, painting, I’m not happy but I’m recovering. But I plunged down the gaming rabbit hole of a distraction. It’s no one’s fault except for mine, I could have said no but I didn’t. I thought I would give anything just to relived what we had, even for abit. If we can hang out, play games together, create a community, just like the old times.

But this leads me to eventually being really afraid. As you said some unkind things during the birth of the server. Things that I’d hurt, I know I could never tell you that I’m scared or sad, you usually dismissed it. It felt like I mend myself over and over again just for you to break... I just took it and went back to my life, I didn’t dare to say anything because I don’t want us to fight. Your apology made me felt okay, and we got back to it.

This misadventure, however, landed me some friends. Not friendships are ever replaceable, but I’d met a lot of beautiful souls that teaches me how to love myself in one way or another. And I guess when you don’t have anyone, you’re appreciative for anyone. They stood up for me for several instances and they are there for me. They helped me despite our power differences. They are kind to me, and they made me so thankful for them because it came to a point where the difference in our power was pushing us apart. I was trying to play catch up, I spent some money but I guess luck wasn’t at my side. I didn’t dare to ask for help because people are mocked for asking for them, being labelled as entitled. I rather keep my head down and try... I was closer with 2 girls and a guy. The server incident made us closer, and there’s this one day that I remembered vividly when you came on in our voice chat and you said as if I’m trying to “flirt” with them. I can take a joke like that, but when they said no, you said something along the line of “you don’t even know what he really is”. Am I really such a terrible person in your eyes? It affected me because it made me felt less of a person, more of a monster. Am I really like that? I thought I opened up... I just want to be genuine, to make everyone feel at home, to hang out. I want to give people a home, and friends... something that I grow up without. That's why I don't want anyone to feel alone.

I started to feel distant from the clan after the drama, I was afraid of the people inside, I never know who was the ghost, or the snake. There’s an instant that someone told me something and I recount it to you because I trusted you, but instead, you want to find out the informant. You said some aggressive things again, this time around you even said if I’m the one stirring the shit just to make me talk. I told you everything, I went against my principle of protecting the identity of the informant. I hated myself. Why would you do that? Why would you say such things to me just to make me talk? To accuse me like that... Did you say that just to make me say what you want?

I eventually had a meet up with my newfound friends. At that point I wasn’t talking as much with you and our clan mates by then, I didn’t know how to put it across or tell you. I was afraid you’ll make fun of me or say that I’m there to try to bed them, I was afraid of ruining what I found, I didn’t know how to say it in a way where there are no repercussions. So I didn’t, maybe I should have... I asked afew friends, many opinions, but they say there's nothing to tell, and there's nothing to hide. So I decided to just ig story it; so at least I'm not hiding anything. It was nice, meeting the people that stood up and cared for me, despite being in the virtual world, but you have to ruin it. That day you wrote in the world chat to ask me to crawl under your legs back to the clan. I was... speechless, even when you said Shanghai. I don’t know if you were trying to “punish” me or hurt me. But that night you did. It was harsh, I didn't even understand why would you do that. People starting telling me not to go back... but I took it as a joke and went back. It felt like I'm just fixing myself over and over again for you to break.

Not even the game, but outside of the game, somebody came to my life as well. But this time, because of the last incident, I want to hide her from everyone else. I hid her from the world because I was afraid of anyone or anything taking her away from me. She because that one good thing that came to me after all the ups and downs. I don’t know how long, but she is my catharsis. She gave me a home, she knows I can get really depressed, she didn’t judge my suicidal thoughts, she held onto me... She's been nothing but an amazing friend of a gem. But I was afraid to share things with you again.

People tell me things, to be careful of you, to stand up for myself, I didn’t know that. Perhaps until now I still didn’t understand how to stand up for myself. So that I can stop the jokes that made me uncomfortable? So I can stop people from stepping over me? I don’t know. People have been calling me "river's dog" and I was okay with it; I thought its okay as long as everyone is happy. I was afraid of you, and all these things made me more afraid of you. I tried... I guess but I fail miserably. I thought we would talk things out after I voiced out about the name-calling. I was so afraid of you pushing me through a mould again; what if everyone just keeps calling me names? Perhaps it was fear, panic, anxiety, and I didn’t voice it out the right way, you were angry, things escalated, you didn’t like some things I did hit this time you didn’t even want to talk things out to fix things. You blocked me, you deleted everything. And you left me there, with the void of your existence, wondering if you’ll ever be back to talk again.

It was as bad as a break-up if I have to say. I think about it day and night, wondering if things would be better should I had not to raise the issue. In fact, I hated myself for standing up, why should I fix what’s not broken? I should be used to get beat up but why this? I went through a whole emotional roller coaster. This catharsis took me weeks to get over, its the 15th Sept at the point of my writing... I still don’t feel well about us. I wish to resolve things, I wish to fix us... I want all of us to be together and happy again. I was later kicked out of the clan, no one told me anything, not you, nor any member said anything. That’s also possible when I realise where I stand... this is me, here, now. And it took such a drama to show me where I stand. I never thought I would be kicked without any courtesy, probably I don’t deserve any... I felt a mixture of sorrows yet I felt... free... So at the very end, without any tinge of sarcasm, thank you or everything...

So at the end of the day... did you really try to know me? Because I really did try to know you. I always want to talk things out, I was careful with you. Because I didn’t want to hurt you. But why...? All the while, I’d like to ask why? I was so prepared to not ask and just let it be as long as all of us are friends and we are happy, and we have our long talks. But why? What am I to you...? Sometimes you cared, or you sound like you care? I sweated a lot of my feelings and emotions under the rug. Because you’re more than just a friend to me, more than just another brother. You’re family. Like I said, and I’ll say it over and over again. You and K are the families that I’d lost but I’d finally found after all this time. I wanted to be more than just a friend, which is why I’ll always be here, I’ll want to be here, every time. You probably know it, that’s when whenever you asked me out I’ll most likely say yes. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, or if you would even care to read this to know what I was going through. Perhaps we would be friends again and laugh at things like a funny story when we stop playing the games. Perhaps we would fix things...perhaps not... Perhaps there is some misunderstanding over the years, I don’t know, I’m afraid of the truth sometimes, but I’d really like to believe that this brotherhood is real. Or at least you can tell me that it is. Let me know that I did not fight for the wrong person... Maybe just that... will be enough, for everything.

With this, I finished my catharsis, even though I'm still lost... even though I know deep inside you're always somebody important. I just like to let you know that I mean it when I call you a Brother, and I mean it when I call you family. Part of me would always felt this catharsis is an never ending journey of defining, of trying to make sense, while another part of me felt like I won't find any answer in the labyrinth.. I started writing at the start of August, around the 10th, and I'd been diving in and out for a month, a whole month of relapse, of mourning, of grief.. At the end of the day I still won't regret having you in my life, but perhaps we are better off having a healthier and more communicated relationship... Maybe we could have bought out the best in each other and not the worse...

I’ll close off this chapter for now... and perhaps, until another time.


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