Part 8: When Ignorance Is Bliss

Typical of most break-ups, I felt the agonizing pain the most strongly in those first few months.  That feeling of my heart being twisted, as though it was being dried like a towel, tortured me everyday.  Considering my previous encounters with the devil, it was no surprise that those thoughts of death visited me on a number of occasions throughout those months. But until I was able to find a good way to end my life, I knew death was not an option. Naturally, my conscience began to find other ways for me cope.

I don’t remember exactly when it was that my body created a response mechanism where every time I wanted to think about death, I would turn to something else to distract myself from those thoughts.  I could have gotten myself into the things that most people use to numb their pain, such as smoking, drugs or alcohol, but I had never had an interest in those activities, so I found other ways. My ways.

At the end of summer 2002, I got my first job working at Chapters Bayview.  Work was my gateway to freedom because that meant I didn’t have to be home after school, which really meant I found an escape from all the problems my family had. The problems at home were no longer just between my parents alone. I had become a rebellious teenager who hated her home, and that caused even more friction between my parents and I. Work easily became my new addiction because it was a place where I could wear a smile on my face and pretend everything was okay.

I worked as much as I could outside of school hours during my last year of high school, while most of my school days were spent at pool halls playing pool or singing karaoke with my friend. By the time I was in my first year of college, I had started to choose work over school. My problems at home had me so distraught that I couldn’t focus at school. Instead of spending time on my studies, I chose to spend my time at work or the arcades. Most people find it hard to believe me when they hear about all the time I used to spend at arcades and pool halls. I guess I just don’t look like that kind of girl. But you all know that saying…never judge a book by its cover.

There were 2 arcades that I visited the most often. One of them was the arcade that used to be at the lower level of Fairview Mall. I would go there in-between classes or when I would skip my classes altogether, and spend a half hour or so immersed in my racing game. When I got there, I would give the lady a $10 bill and in return she would give me ten $1 coins. Then I would settle into my usual Initial D racing game seat with my stack of coins in front of me and proceed to lose myself in that 2D world. I felt in control behind that wheel and, over time, was able to gain better control of the car and perfect my drifting skills. What I enjoyed most, though, was the thrill of racing through the make believe streets at high speed and being able to slam into cars or side rails as much as I wanted to. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was my repressed destructive side trying to get out.

I never talked about my addiction to sadness with anyone. Like many others, I didn’t want to admit to having problems because our society has shaped us to judge and view those with issues as being weak or different. I think we subconsciously feel the need to make things look pretty on the outside, even though we may be struggling on the inside. We find ways to conceal what is evidently a problem not just from others, but from ourselves as well. After all, ignorance is bliss…until it no longer is.

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