Story By: Radenko Suvajac
It’s summer, wet weather. The land is a wet mess of Roma people, and in one place people and children have gathered, forming a circle. In the middle of the circle is a clown with a music box, and next to him, the bear is confused, looking at the world around the two of them.
The moment the clown starts to turn the pedal on the box, the bullet straightens up on its hind legs and starts jumping hysterically. The crowd around is clapping, children are laughing, and parents are starting to insert coins into the hat that the clown had placed on the ground earlier.
When the music stops, the boy gets down on all fours and sits on his butt and continues to look at the world around him in confusion.
Later, the bear will end up in his cage and spend a long night awake and depressed.
How did the bear learn to dance? Bear was caught in the forest when she was very small, a noose was put through her nose, one end of the rope was tied to the noose while the other end was tied to a post. Then the German was thrown underfoot and the music was played for days and months. Given that she was tied, the bear jumped on the hot coals to the sounds of music until she learned that every time she heard the music from the box, she stood on her hind legs, straightened her head and started jumping in place.
Of course, Bear never learned to dance. Mecka learned that every time she hears that disgusting music, she experiences the agony of burns on her legs, the inability to run away because the hook in her nose would tear her nose out, pain and finally depression because she is in a cage and depends on whether her owner will throw her that she grows an apple to eat and tomorrow that powerful creature that rules her life will again cause new torments?
Isn’t it the same with anxiety? That man represents situations that happen to us (throwing dice and playing music), so he creates our thoughts, music is a trigger, the rope is a feeling of hopelessness, are the thoughts that create pain for us and depression is a cage at the end of the day.
In principle, I believe that we are trained not to see beyond those symbols that we have or that we have implanted in our heads over time. If something is not perfect, I am not good, if I hear a word on the street, it means that I am because I cannot do this or that, or I do not have this or that, I am condemned to live here and I will do something to myself because there is no other way, etc., etc., I can’t have friends because I think I’m this or that or this or that.
All these symbols are, in the simplest vernacular terms, ordinary shit, compost stinks a bit, but their destiny is to dry up and disintegrate and something useful will grow out of it.
We are not those symbols, we are not that feeling, and situations can certainly change.
What the bear does not know is that it is 10 times stronger than that scream that tormented it and that with one stroke of its breath it can knock it down and send it off into the forest and live freely and in that unknown world find a mass of juicy berries and honey and leaves.
TALK WITH YOURSELF
I know there is a book called Conversations with God, I have nothing against it, I always support everything that helps people, but here I will share a slightly different experience than the one the author of that book states.
I don’t even know how much time has passed since I started working on myself, it’s been almost two years since I last wrote a story and I think now is the right moment to share my experiences.
At the first interview with the psychiatrist, when I opened up about everything that was going through my head, I stated that from early childhood until my late 20s, I ran away from problems and reality through my fat and that in that fat I always fight against fierce enemies, organizations that they want to destroy me and that in that fat there is only one vulnerable point, the Child, who was born to me by a person important to me who is sometimes dead, and sometimes hidden in an unknown location through my secret connections. Admittedly, the parent is not as important as that child, for whose sake I have often killed hated enemies.
However, that moment when I mentioned that child, I screamed and cried so much that the doctor gave me a pitiful look that I will never forget.
She asked me why you are crying.
Because it is my most intimate thing that I have.
And who is the Child?
I shut up and wiped my tears and nose, shrugging my shoulders, I couldn’t say it.
Is that you?
Then I realized something that I had no idea about for years.
I trembled at the realization that I had shamed no one but myself. I ran away, but I couldn’t escape, and then many years ago I separated myself from myself and sent it to safety.
As I wrote, for the next period I was treated for anxiety and depression and insecurity and who knows what else. But one of my goals became to connect with that child.
It was hard work.
Because you have heard of situations when someone appears after 20 years and tells someone that he is his father or child. Believe me, this was no different.
I had to get to know him, to like him and for him to like me. I often used to hold the cuff of my right hand in a half-folded position during my walks and imagine that the Child was sitting with me.
As crazy as it may seem what I was doing, I knew when I laid down in bed to talk to him. Remind him of who he is, what he is, that he is worth it and that he will never be abandoned again. I convinced him, convinced myself.
After a few months, I was forgiven on one occasion.
A wonderful feeling, my imagination performed the most solemn moment in my life until then, I accepted myself, my child forgave the old me, and you will laugh, but at that moment that boy with dreamy eyes united with me and finally became me.
What happened is what every doctor tries to achieve with his patient: to forgive himself and accept himself as he is.
It’s a nice feeling, it’s unbelievable that even today when I remember it, I feel warmth and security.
That was a huge, astronomical step for me. I was no longer hidden in an unknown land, but protected in my soul.
My treatment did not end there, like you and I, I took one step forward and two steps back, very often one step forward and ten steps back, but when I think about it now, when I return to the point from which I “fell” it was no longer 10 steps steps rather than 20, which is commendable.
In order not to make too much of what happened up to this second part of my story, I will talk about that another time.
This part of the story is the most important.
I had recent outbursts of anger, because of things and people, which at first glance are not that important, but it aroused so much anger in me that I couldn’t stand people, parents, friends, anything that was near me for too long. The doctor told me that it was something in my childhood and that it wouldn’t be bad if I remembered it and that I would find the answer there.
I didn’t like that. I spent five days thinking about those things that floated like a greasy stain on water, I recognized them and I didn’t like them. I remembered that I had promised the child that I would watch over us and that I would do everything to make it better for us to get out of the circle of anxiety and insecurity.
And I started.
I remembered the day before the start of the war, I remembered the day when we went into exile, I remembered being separated from my parents, how I cried every night.
How I cried every night, how I drew my own building and playgrounds at school. Hiding from other children, as I became “problematic”
How we lived with an alcoholic and a sister who took care of everything for us there.
I remembered the final return home after the first few months and the shock of familiar places that were destroyed, neighbors who are suddenly like some enemies, going to school under shells, being separated from parents again, i.e. going to the countryside, crying women who lost their sons and my husband’s brothers, the things I’ve seen and heard, disappointments. I wrote all that in an email to the doctor.
And I laid down in bed and started to cry, to scream from crying. I spoke to the child and told him that there was nothing wrong. He needed to hear that, we talked about everything and it was easier. I comforted him and gave him/myself the love and attention I needed.
Suddenly it would have been easier.
Emptiness. I felt like an eggshell for three days. On the fourth day, I felt better, but I know that I did not reach the point of anger.
Completion of primary school.
I tried not to think about it, but we know that when you’re not talking about something, you think that’s exactly what you’re focusing on.
Suddenly at work, while I was thinking about it in my head, the little Me jumped out of me and grew. I imagined him as myself as a 10-12 year old boy. A dull, emotionless expression. I tried to defend myself to somehow reduce it and return it, but no. He was still that boy with lush hair like a helmet on his head if it fit, dressed in tracksuits and with an expressionless expression on his face.
I came home and sat down at the computer and started writing.
I remembered, I remembered everything, how we didn’t have running water, so we went to get it on sand, I also remembered my parents’ quarrels, I remembered how I was hurt because of that and how I started to close in on myself, I avoided personal hygiene , socializing, other children, at school they started to consider me a moron, call me names, tease me, bully me, classic peer violence, to name a few. And I finally remembered the last day of school, when I came home and cried in front of the mirror, because finally everything was over.
Yes friends, I masked that period of my life and decided to progress and I did. But I never faced my past.
batman This time I didn’t cry, but I saw that kid, I saw myself smaller than I remember myself, at least two heads smaller than I am now. I was looking at myself. Me a little with my blank expression. And then I started to recount in my head what happened after that. My parents are great now, the old ones are a bit boring, but after that they always support me, I talked about what we have achieved, school and work, I told him that he speaks English perfectly. All the countries I visited, the mountain peaks we conquered, the girls we were with and in love with. I also talked about the accidents and happiness that happened, about our cousins and cousins that we kept where they were. About the people he used to hang out with and stopped hanging out with, about all the good and humane things we did that we might not have done if we weren’t who we are. About helping others, about forgiving people, about not having to hate. About not letting other irrelevant people live in his head. We talked about all our values and flaws and that they are not bad if we need them, I explained to him how much he is really worth, and that he is not a victim and that we will not spend our lives in self-pity but live. Then I imagined how we play basketball, we train, I take him to nature, I show the beauty that I had the opportunity to see many years later, and it was nice for me and he smiled, but honestly and not to cover up his sadness. I know that because I’m talking about myself.
batmen2I remembered that I always fantasized that I was a superhero and now I was. I finally became my own best friend, and that’s what I always needed. I love myself unconditionally.
We are still talking, I am waiting for that moment to completely honestly accept my past because it is mine.
Part of me is me, and that boy forgives me for hiding him in the dark, but it will take time and it doesn’t matter. It will take time, but it will come.
CONVERSATIONS WITH YOURSELF: ABOUT HATE
Hate is a feeling of intense repulsion towards someone or something. And anger.
That is one definition. According to the Bible, hatred is a mortal sin.
Um, and what is she doing in life? In my opinion and experience, hate is a drug. I adopted her very easily. It is interesting how it develops and grows over time. I remember as a child when I was becoming a teenager, many topics were discussed after the war, especially about inter-ethnic hatred.
I remember leaning against the window and thinking about all the friends I knew from the neighborhood before the war, and how I said to myself with a lump in my throat that I wouldn’t hate anyone. I think it was a brave move at the time. However, 15 years later, the statement of just one politician activated that hatred in me like fury. I said everything and what I thought and didn’t think, even though what I said had nothing to do with me. Another example of hatred towards politicians, from the beginning it was hatred towards one political option, and when that option was replaced by my “correct” option, I realized that the essence is the same regardless of what it is packaged in, and hatred towards politics appeared. Later, as my dissatisfaction grew, racism, homophobia, etc., etc. appeared. Not to take too long, let’s move on to what I started talking about.
Even though it didn’t make sense, I picked up hatred very easily. It was like food, it excited me, it was easy to accept that all the problems are out there: groups, conspirators, stupid people, the world, cosmic forces, God, they are all to blame and they are the problem.
As the hatred grew, so did the anxiety, the more depressed I was, the more the hatred grew. Until once.
Suddenly there weren’t many things to hate anymore. I realized that I was destroying myself, so I began to convince myself that this was not the case. I am 30 years old, not all these things are problems. But it had already eaten me up so much that it started to create more anxiety.
And then a click happens.
Everything I hated I saw in myself.
“Oh no… it’s not me, there’s no logic. And I did! There’s no way.” Obsessive thoughts appear. At first I pretend they don’t exist, but they are there. My body starts to suffer slowly. And the thoughts are getting more intense. They hurt! I often start to despair, I experience agony. Until I thought that others could see it too. And then a new panic sets in. Others see in me everything that I hate. And then hatred takes on an even worse dimension, it’s no longer intoxicating, now it’s a punishment. I began to hate myself, because I began to think that I had become everything that I hated. Until one evening when I had a panic attack in the company when I literally folded in pain.
When I got home. I screamed at myself at the top of my voice, I wanted to punish myself, I stood in front of the mirror and spat in my reflection. It didn’t help. I felt weak. I lay down on the bed and fell into depression and lay in bed for a long time in such despair. Later, when I was dealing with the problems with the doctor, we spent most of our time learning about those things that I hated. Because the key was to understand that even if it was all true what I hated and what I was afraid of, to accept it as ok. Needless to say, I was filled with fear and disgust at the thought of it.
I gathered my courage and started to research and read. I read about obsessive thoughts, it used to happen that in half the article I found a trigger for obsessive thoughts and anxiety. But I didn’t give up. I was determined, even when what I was reading was totally unacceptable to me, to continue and go to the end. I had to hang out with people even when I didn’t feel like it. To walk around this city, to investigate if there is something that is good in it. I found courses that I can guess, various workshops. Just to blow up that hate. I faced people who I thought were gossiping about me, because at one point I believed that they were doing it behind my back. And slowly, step by step, the hatred began to melt. Not suddenly, not in a day, in fact I would rather say in a year. I have solved a lot of things, but there is still work to be done. The crown of all that learning was the situation when my superior, from whom my colleagues and I suffered mobbing for years, was retiring. The moment I shook hands with him, I got such a desire to hit him that for months afterwards I was in fear of what would happen if I met him.
The hatred was so strong that I was afraid of what would happen if I met him. Will I jump on him? Am I going to beat him? Hurt him? I hated the fact that we were breathing the same air. And then the fear appeared, what if I meet him and do none of this? Will I hate myself? Will I harm myself then? I spent so much time wondering what kind of man is this? How could a man be like that? And after some time it dawned on me that he was a man, and he behaved the way a man can behave. Yes, he could have been different, but he was like that. But what about that now?
What does that mean? What should I do with it? Then I realized that I had indulged in the role of the victim. I let his actions towards me shape my consciousness.
With the help of what I learned in therapy and what I read, I realized that I have a choice to be a victim or not.
I decided not to be. It wasn’t easy. But as I decided to accept everything around me in order to free myself from hatred, I also accepted what was happening to me personally. Even today, when I think of him, it sometimes triggers a feeling of hatred in me. But I don’t deny the feeling and that’s human, I let the feeling work and pass.
Somehow I managed to forgive a lot of it. The most important thing is that I forgave myself and politics and hatred towards my neighbour. Even according to those bullies, I continued to live.
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