Today marks fourteen years since I left my family’s home. That means I have officially spent more time out of that situation than in it, although only by a few hours.
I thought that as I got older the memories would diminish. But it seems they remain clear, as if they happened just a few years ago. I suppose that is part of aging. My body gets older, but my mind stays the same.
A few other things have not changed. I unfortunately never grew any taller. Honestly, I did not expect to, but it is unpleasant being no taller than the average eight grader, and worse yet looking several years younger than I am. Some people still mistake my for a high-school senior, which either means I look very young or eighteen-year-olds look like twenty-seven-year-olds.
As I think about it, I cannot explain how I managed to get through those fourteen years. I would like to say I had a great deal of courage or hope, but I the truth is that I simply gave in. There was little I could do to change the situation, and since telling was not an option, the best thing was to obey them. It is rather shameful now that I think about, especially given my stubborn nature.
That said, looking back on it, I suppose one thing that kept me going was trying to keep it from happening to my brothers and cousins. I was a failure at that as well, but at least I put forth some effort. They are surprisingly forgiving of me, considering the circumstances.
I suppose that as a person gets older, time moves more quickly. It feels like only a few years ago I was in high school. I often have to remind myself that 1998 was twelve years ago. Of all the progress I have made (or what others say I have made), I still feel the same as I did when I first got out of that situation. The anxiety and cautiousness is still there. Perhaps it will never leave.
The one plus about my attitude is that I can sufficiently turn everything off. I do not have to feel much if I do not want to. I think I might have turned to other means if I could not do that, especially given how easily and randomly I can be triggered at times. Another plus is that my indifference keeps me out of unnecessary conflicts. No office fights, no gossip or bickering. The side-effect, of course, is that some people feel the need to “break me out of my shell.” That can be annoying.
I am surprisingly in a better state than I thought I would be by this time. I always assumed that I would eventually give in and return to my family. Instead, I managed to avoid them, and none of them try to bother brothers or cousins. It is not like we are going to tell anyone anything anyhow.
Yet, it still feels odd to actually have spent more time out of the situation than in it. Despite occurring during my childhood, I suppose I cannot let those experiences define me anymore. That will be difficult since most of the last fourteen years were spent coasting along.
My godson’s father once compared me to Batman, suggesting that like Batman the face I wear in public is the mask and the way I am around my cousins and brothers is the real me. I suppose that is true. I have done a lot of things, yet none of them feel as if I actually did them. I have said things that I would never apply to myself, and reached out to others in a way I would never accept if someone tried to do the same for me.
I do wonder what another fourteen years will bring. Will I become a father? Get married? Finally decide what to do with myself?
One thing I do know for certain is that in fourteen years Square-Enix still will not have reached Final Fantasy XX yet. The games will continue to come out a slower pace, each one being long-winded with frustrating combat systems, impeccable production design, and moody characters whose voice actors sound remarkably like I do.