Day Sixteen: Loser
For the past sixteen days, Me has been crawling through the depths of his mind, dealing with his emotions, his past actions, and the memories he had buried so deeply. With the help of all of his emotions, he began to see that he was not the person he wanted to be and sought to change it. By understanding himself and his past, Me prepares himself to break out of his mind and return a changed man. But nobody, not Me, not his emotions, not his new found outlook in life, could prepare Me for the manifestation of Father.
Although Agony and Fear took Me back to his childhood and the memories of his Father on Day Six, none of them had any idea that Father would be able to actually appear within Me’s head. Despite keeping the memory of Father buried for so long, all the anger and resentment Me has held towards him has kept him strong, just biding his time until Me is at his weakest so he can strike.
Father begins to wreak havoc within Me’s mind, telling him that he knew he was always weak and that the only reason he’s there is because he enjoys the anguish he can cause. He continues with his flippant gloating, not bothered one bit that he has no place he considers home nor that he has several failed marriages and estranged children. Nothing seems to bother him, as long as he can carry on with his wayward ways. To top it all off, he continues to berate Me, showing no remorse to what happened to Me’s mother and using his favorite taunt: loser.
This turn of events leaves all of Me’s emotions speechless. Before any of them have time to react, Rage is already lashing out, releasing all the pent up frustration and bitterness Me built up over the years. It becomes clear that the sorrowful childhood Me had to endure was not his fault, Father was the one who put him through it. Despite all that, Me was the one who was able to rise up and overcome what burdened him. So with Rage properly channeled in the right direction, they violently reject Father’s words, banishing him right out of Me’s mind. The memories will always remain, but they would no longer trouble Me, for he knows now that Father is the real loser.
In the early hours of March 20th, 1997, my father passed away. The memory of some of that night is forever burned into my mind. I was 10 at the time, and although nobody ever really spelled it out for me, I could see for myself that he was beginning to fade away. We all kind of knew it was coming, but nothing can ever prepare you for it. I had taken to sleeping downstairs in the living room near him, on an inflatable bed. I just remember waking up to voices; my mom, my godparents, my aunt from down the street, the pastor from the church we went to, and eventually my uncle and aunt from San Francisco showed up. I don’t remember what they were talking about, but I knew I didn’t like the sound of it. Nobody knew I was awake, I just laid there with my eyes shut. The talk eventually turned to if it was time to shut off the respirator that he was hooked up to. After that, everything becomes blurry. I just remember crying. I went through the next week or two in a haze. Tons of friends and family talking to me, offering condolences and such, but I can’t remember their words or even their faces. The memorial service and funeral were packed full of people, a testament to the many lives my father touched. All that’s left of those memories are just snapshots: my uncle delivering the eulogy, watching the casket get lowered, throwing handfuls of dirt as everyone was leaving, and hiding in my room playing SNES afterward at the reception. After seeing him get buried, without realizing it, I buried my emotions with him.
I really don’t know where I got the idea, but for some reason, it got stuck in my head that I needed to be strong, not for me, but for my mom. Maybe it was society or media, but I somehow thought that meant shutting out my emotions. I was the man of the house now and couldn’t show any signs of weakness. So I stopped crying. I didn’t talk about how I felt anymore. I shut it all down and buried it. Much like Pride said on Day Twelve, “By now you realized, you have to be relentless to survive. Repress your memories, bury all emotions and thrive! It’s your life!” No longer did I view the world as this wide open place full of adventures to be. The wondrous shine that the world had began to fade away and was replaced by coldness and gray. When I looked ahead, I saw nothing but loss and disappointment, so I found a way to escape from all that.
My plan was to build up these giant walls around myself and hide deep within them. I did it because I hated the feelings that loss brought with it: pain, sorrow, agony, pity, emptiness, confusion, frustration, loneliness. It was a lot for me to deal with and I just never wanted to feel any of that again. In an instant, my life and everything I knew had become shattered. Instead of looking to others for help, I turned away and sought refuge inward. Why reach out to others when they would inevitably leave me for one reason or another? It felt it would be better to detach, keep people at a comfortable distance, where if they did disappear, I wouldn’t feel that sense of loss inside. Foolish? Yes, but I didn’t really know better; I refused to know better.
For something like 15 years, that’s how I lived. I turned inward and learned to depend more on myself. Too weak and afraid to deal with what burdened me, I buried it and dragged it around with me instead of letting go. Too scared of loss and disappointment, I shut people out instead of opening up. Where did all that get me? Nowhere.
So where do I go now? I’ve known all this stuff for quite some time. I’ve known what I need to do to move on for quite some time as well. Even with that knowledge, it’s not enough to break free, I’ve just ended up going in circles. It’s the understanding of everything that I’ve needed. I guess I just needed a push in the right direction and an outlet to help me through it. There’s nobody I blame for all of this but myself. I got myself into this, so it must be me who gets me out. Reason said it best in Day Fifteen that these memories will be with us no matter what but it’s only when we face it are we able to conquer it. Day Thirteen had Love saying it’s time to break the chains that bind you to a past that feeds bitter days. Back on Day Five, Pride had suggested Me looks to the future but learn from the past. There are tons of lyrics that are applicable to me. The one that fits best is the one I’ve always known all along: let it go.
Day Fifteen: Betrayal
Day Fourteen: Pride
Day Thirteen: Sign
Day Twelve: Trauma
Day Eleven: Love
Day Ten: Memories
Day Nine: Playground
Day Eight: School
Day Seven: Hope
Day Six: Childhood
Day Five: Voices
Day Four: Mystery
Day Three: Pain
Day Two: Isolation
Day One: Vigil
The Human Equation: A 20 Day Experiment