“You lack human feelings!” my mum said as she slapped me on my right cheek for the third time. I didn’t feel any pain neither was I remorseful. I looked at my mum right back in the eye as she slapped me again. This time, I turned my face only to see my younger sister crying. I was confused as to why she was crying. I hate the sight of tears. I see people that cry as being weak. To me, her tears were unnecessary at the moment. I mean, why would she waste her tears on me? I turned to face my enraged mother. The look on her face showed that she was disgusted and irritated by what I did. Still, I didn’t care.
“You know what?” Just get out of my sight! I don’t want to see you for the rest of the day.” I was glad I was asked to leave and without saying a word, I walked out of my mother and sister’s presence.
I entered my room to sleep but I couldn’t sleep. I could hear the nagging of my mother and how she complained bitterly of how my inhumane acts were bringing her sorrow. I tried to block my ears but it didn’t work. I heard my mum say “Maybe when I die, she’ll understand the pain I’m going through and I’m grateful to God I’ll soon pass away”.
The thought of losing my mother hit me hard. I love her very much, I love my family more than anything but I can’t express my love for them. Sometimes, I’ll want to share in their pain whenever they were in crisis but I lost my emotions a long time ago. Let me share what happened with you.
I attended a girls’ only school popularly known as Feggicolla. It was an all-boarding school but due to my health condition, I was permitted to be a day student and was the only day student in my class. Some of my classmates teased me and usually called me “Mummy’s pet”. I got used to it and didn’t let it bother me much. When I got to JSS2, I had a new set of classmates. For no reason, I appeared weak to them. Whenever I spoke, my words were not recognized. Some of them bullied me and accused me of things I didn’t do.
There was a particular day I was called out on the assembly ground along with two of my mates, where we were recognized for our writing skills. When I got back to class, my so-called friends were jealous and angry at me; shouted at me in front of the whole class and made fun of me. I wept bitterly that morning; nobody consoled me. I couldn’t focus well on my exams; was shattered and broken on the inside. I couldn’t tell my parents due to fear that they would scold me.
After that session, I began to ignore them. I avoided them like plague and spent most of my time at the e-library. It helped my emotions to stay in check and I enjoyed my time alone. Soon, loneliness became my best friend and time over time, I picked loneliness over spending time with anyone.
As time went by, I found it difficult to interact with people and how to express my feelings to them. Suddenly, I felt no pain, no joy, no sorrow, and no happiness. I was just empty! At first, I was glad I was that way because it prevented me from being bullied. But now, I want it gone!
I want to cry, I want to have a feeling of remorse and I want to understand what others go through whenever they cried. I want to be happy, I want to be content and be emotional like the others. That’s all I wish for but it feels like my heart is in shackles and has been thrown into the bottom of an ocean. Alexithymia was once a gift! Now, I see it as a curse!
Writer: Iwayemi Iyanuoluwa Olubunmi
Ekiti State University, NIGERIA