I know this wouldn’t reach you. I know for sure you are not going to read this. Even if you do, the sad thing is, you might not know I wrote it. You wouldn’t know because your name is changed and my name isn’t the same.
I’m only writing this for me. Somehow I still hurt. I’m writing this only to get things off my chest. Maybe, it would bring me some release and help me move on faster than I should.
Have I told you already that I still hurt?
You were not the first person I dated. And I’m glad I didn’t lie about that from the beginning. I told you about George who left me because I nearly stab him one dawn after a little fight. He called me a drama queen and thought I overreactive. I was young and hadn’t studied myself too well.
It was when I was dating Idris that I was diagnosed with Bipolar. He saw my actions and thought everything wasn’t right with me. Being a medical student also helped him got a hint of what I was going through. I insisted it was just a mood swing. He insisted there could be something more than that and indeed there was something more than that.
I remember asking the doctor that day; “Is it curable?” And she told me, “Angel, it’s manageable. It doesn’t change who you are. You only have to take your medication, go through therapy and study your triggers. You’ll be fine.” That wasn’t the answer I expected but from then on, I knew my life wasn’t going to be the same.
I told you Idris left me. I lied. He didn’t leave me. He was rather acting scared around me anytime we had an argument. Maybe he thought I would stab him too. I had to let him go. How could he love me and still be scared? He was loving me out of pity. I withdrew from him and slowly we died out.
After him, there was only me and my depression. Sometimes I wanted to die. Everything around me started fading to black and white. Life lost its color. Friends shunned my company. They said I was irrational. They said I couldn’t keep a secret. They called me mad and shunned my company most of the time. Even family did very little to keep me sane. They called me “Aunt Julie’s mad daughter.”
I was totally broken and thought my world had come to an end. And then you came along. At first, I asked myself, “Is this guy a stranger around town? Why me? Why would he love a ‘mad’ woman.” You were persistent and I saw some innocence in your persistence so I decided not to give you a chance but rather give myself the chance to see how far I could go in a relationship.
I said yes to you and also told you about my diagnosis. I was surprised you were not surprised about my condition but then I remembered how fast and far gossips travel. I knew you knew about my condition. I thought maybe you were trying to take advantage of me. But you looked me in the eye and said; “I’m too old for such games. If sex is what I want, I could probably get it in so many places.”
I thought that was cute. Even my bipolar mind agreed with me so we laughed hysterically. That night was the best night I’ve ever had post-bipolar diagnosis.
I remember you trying to calm me down in my worse moments. The first time I pulled scissors on you, I thought you’ll run and come no more but you stayed and calmed me down. The world thought I was violent but you tried your best to be my peace.
I didn’t think we could go far. Three years? Nooo, I didn’t ever dream it. But slowly, the bad came and passed us by. The ugliness of life swept under our feet but we stayed calm and tight together. There was more trouble but we survived until that night…the night that changed who we were.
I don’t want you to think that I was pessimistic about everything but the truth was staring at us at every turn. The day you told your mom we were going to get married soon, I saw her squirming in her seat. Her facial expressions changed. It wasn’t by accident that your sister left the room. Your dad tried to stay positive but I knew he had reservations too.
Every day when I asked you how were preparations going, I was, in fact, trying to ask how you were dealing with your parents’ resistance. You kept assuring me but soon the assurance stopped coming. You replaced it with “Let’s give it some time.”
I was bipolar but I wasn’t stupid. I knew what was going on. I knew you were fighting with your parents about your desire to marry me. I knew it wouldn’t be long until they won because you looked tired and frustrated most times. You forgot I was a psychology graduate.
So that night when you said “We need to talk,” I knew the time has come. Fortunately for me, I was ready. Well, so I thought.
You sat in the chair next to me and let it all out. You couldn’t even look at me in the eyes like you used to when you had something important to tell. Your gaze was on the floor, and then to the wall, back on the floor and came to rest at your own lap. You couldn’t look at me because you were scared of what you’ll see.
“They wouldn’t let me live with you. They say it’s too dangerous. They’re worried you would one day stab me in my sleep. They say you can’t do anything for yourself and earn money to support the family. They say….they say”
I only nodded as though it was fine with me but I was dying on the inside. I was burning for you to end the conversation and leave me alone. But I had to ask; “Joe, that’s what they say. What do you also say?” Then you dropped the bomb; “I can’t do any of these without their consent. You deserve to be where you’ll be accepted. You’re too fragile for all these tussles.”
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Hmmm, Joe, you were wrong. I wasn’t fragile. If you were ready to fight by my side, I could have done it. But then, I understood you because blood is thicker than water. That’s why I don’t hate you. You tried for me. You really did. You saw a lot in me that I myself couldn’t see in myself.
I heard about your wedding. Again, I would have come if you invited me but maybe you still think I’m too fragile to handle it. I wish you all the best because you deserve it. You have a beautiful wife. At least you can sleep free knowing she can’t pull scissors. I bless you both.
Yours, Aunt Julie’s ‘mad’ daughter.
—Aunt Julie’s ‘mad’ daughter, -Ghana
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