The price of pride
If you haven't read my introductory articles, first and second, I'm the middle child in a family of five, meaning I know exactly how it feels to be responsible for another person at all times, getting blamed if something goes wrong with them, my fault or not.
Though my older sister would never have to be responsible for me, since i'm a boy, yet I always lived in her ever growing shadow, since KINDERGARTEN, yes, that early, we've attended the same schools, the same teachers, almost the same classes, as well, all teachers, everyone spoke of how much a hard worker she is, how much she studies .. etc.
And i'll give her that, one of the few things i really admire is hard work, and she IS indeed a very hard-worker, and not just that, she was pretty proud of herself as well, my ego, of course, couldn't handle this, and i am not one to give up, it's neither in my nature, nor was I raised on it.
Through the years of grade and middle school, I made my own reputation at school and with teachers, which at some point exceeded that of my sister's, it took a LOT of hard work for me to actually do this, as I was always the kid with the huge opinion of himself, but i had a responsibility to back that up with both my inherent capabilities and of course, effort.
Aside from school, i had developed other skills, and noticed I was pretty quick at it too, learning.
Starting high-school, in which I was studying under the same math teacher as hers, maths -- which I had a rather indifferent relationship with, I could never hate it, but never excelled at it -- an old dude with a habit for provocation, and guess what ? he was my sister's favorite teacher, and she was one of his top students, it was the best way to beat her at her own field, don't you think ?
As I got through the years, I was considered a "genius", and I only knew about this a bit after halfway through my second year with him, when my younger brother started attending to him as well, he said he was always was singing praise of me, for some reason or the other.
In the first half I was the only guy in his class, studying mechanics besides maths, me, and about 29 girls, yet i always had the gall to interrupt him for questions, offer new answers and always, always getting him to call me names alongside sarcastic remarks in a smug manner, nothing actually offending but i gotta admit, a high-school student getting called names in front of so many girls was somewhat embarrassing.
I didn't care though, in fact, it fueled my confidence even more, as I could then speak my mind without a care, and knowing about him calling me a genius only fueled it more and more.
At this point, I had a very specific goal in mind, but that wasn't even beating my sister anymore, somehow that first goal somehow got lost through the short span of a year, now i was focused on myself, i found a new potential in maths, I started loving it, and even though the teacher's style was bittersweet, he - the teacher - was the reason.
After I was done with my third year i had gotten to the point where rivalry didn't even matter, i rose to the top and was some sort of unrivaled entity now, a force to be reckoned with.
High-school ended, but by no means was me relishing in my own puddle of pride done, not by a long shot, situations happened, I got into engineering college in my city which only accepted people with a high-school result of a 96.3% total, I was a bit more past that, so i got into it, not because i'm seeking new challenges, not because i wanted to, but because i didn't care
enough to choose, I knew by that point that any sort of field i'd enter i'd excel at, and it was then that stagnation started seeping in.
And for the majority of the first year (preparatory year), I was one of the top students, but the "good" parts have started folding by that point, unfortunately for me I had an ass of a professor who was verbally abusing students, and it was my turn, I spoke out of turn, said my entire candid opinion of him, not exactly because I felt bad for others, but because I did not want to stand for him trying to force me, ME, out of some grades I deserve, I knew not neither what subtlety nor wit meant at that time, and almost got a full expulsion in return, and I still didn't care.
However, I was forced to repeat first year just because he said so, I was furious, I cared even less, to the point where I just stayed home, turned into an extreme introvert who barely took a step out of the house.
The repeated year went by, passed with an exact 50% as per my calculations, got into production engineering, and still stayed home for the most part of it, I simply did not give a single fuck, as I had none to give.
I literally saw no purpose in life by that point, not that I was gonna commit suicide or anything and it wasn't that i was so offended, my thought process led me this way, at some point, that we're created in a world not of our choosing, live a life with people whose company we did not choose, at the behest of a universe/god or whatever it is that caused us to exist, that we live and die trying to do things all the time, yet humanity in general still does the same things, in an endless cycle.
I could go on, but that's a topic for another time.
Through all these years, from grade to college, a lot of crap happened, issues with my brother, losing many people I knew, relatives for the most part, and having such confidence, that inflated ego was a very useful defense mechanism, and even though I had been stagnating for a long time (after high-school) by this point I did not admit defeat, I never did, but early in my first year in production engineering all this ended with a boom, a bit too literally.
relatively graphic details ahead, stop reading if you don't wish to go through them
I woke up one night, at 3am or so over the sound of a huge explosion, it cracked the glass balcony door i'm sleeping next to, apparently the explosion happened about 200 meters away from us, on the street parallel to ours, it was a terrorist attack, one of the many we hear of nowadays.
Later that day I got a phone call from a police officer telling me if i knew X, Y and Z, the three guys that lived about where the explosion happened, the ones I've been trying to contact (and went by the place in search for them) all day, and since I couldn't get close, I had no luck in doing so.
"They're dead." he said, "As per our investigation process you have to come and identify their bodies." he added, I stood in shock, even though I kinda guessed, at the back of my mind already, I didn't add a single word, neither asked if this "process" mandatory or not, nor anything, my mind was closed shut at this point, and so was the landline phone in my hand.
My dad feared it to be mandatory and took me there, he and I got in the morgue and he had to stand outside since only I was "summoned", even though it wasn't my first time seeing a dead body, it was the first time i had seen a body this mutilated, and burnt to a crisp to boot, describing it as horrifying is a huge understatement, it is a mix of the worst feelings I've ever had.
I didn't even know them at first, since i couldn't really look, but i had to, and so I did, after it was done, my dad got me home and we never spoke of the subject ever again, as i was actually unable to form sentences for the next couple of weeks, with my mouth at least.
After a few days of not sleeping - and i mean not sleeping, not an hour, not a minute, not a wink - and constant puking, I had my first attack, flashes of everything bad that happened in my life, though mostly the most recent incident, went before my eyes, my chest was so tight that I could not even move my arms/shoulders, my knees literally gave out and I fell to the ground, ME, the singular entity.
Later on, at the hospital I was diagnosed with PTSD, or rather, post traumatic stress disease, for those who don't know the abbreviation and for the first time I was not in control of what's going on, not even my consciousness.
It is only through the coming months that I had to admit defeat, for the first time in my life, I had some pretty bad falling outs with my family, relatives, even my three friends during that period as well, and everything I had built on in my 20 years of life was simply about to vanish at this point, confidence and pride included.
It is/was an experience i abhor, keeping myself in check was nigh impossible, yet, it was also a very humbling experience, it is not as if I wasn't aware of my pride before, but it was part of my nature and my best defense mechanism, I was not about to abandon it for the sake of anyone.
Almost a year later now, and with the help and constant support of one Ema (@szuri) -- the Romanian friend I met about 3 years ago, whom I also had plenty of falling outs with over that period due to the sheer amount of stress on both of us, as both of us had situations we were going through, yet, out of the three friends I have, she always was there for me in the end, the ever-inspirational, and one of the few people whom I've had the pleasure of calling friend, also the one to get me into Steemit -- have started to change, bit by bit, small change at a time.
I think it is high time I end my stagnation, to trim some edges off my ever-so-flawed self and move on with a personality that is confident yet hopefully manages to keep it's pride in check, maybe it was the price i had to pay to make such a deal, the price of pride.
It was quite difficult for me to write down the last few phrases, as even the memory of them could potentially make me sick, but I'm glad I did, thanks for reading.