I've been reading articles on child psychology, dysfunctional relationship dynamics, anxiety, depression and personality disorders since I was a kid - since I was 11, at least - when I first owned a laptop. I used to think that I was the problem. Everyone made it seem like I was, so I suppose I started to believe it, even though I knew deep down that it wasn't me. That I was fine. I learnt one thing: It's not easy to convince others of your innocence when they don't know what it is that you're experiencing day after day after day. Emotional manipulation had become routine. Hypocrisy, naming and shaming, guilt-tripping, stonewalling, gaslighting... What haven't I experienced? I spent so many years trapped in silence. Walking on eggshells. Afraid of the next blow-up, the next rejection, the next fight or the next insult. My throat would actually clench when I walked up the stairs; my voice would trapped, with no sound able to leave my mouth. No one knew that feeling. I did. Going to school was absolute torture. So I started to numb myself. I cut off contact with friends. I turned down party invitations. I skipped recess with my classmates every day by leaving early to use the toilet. For 45 minutes. Every day. For close to 8 years. I remember I used to buy the same $1 bowl of macaroni for a whole year from the Red Noodle Stall because I was so self-conscious and so fearful of doing or saying anything wrong that I couldn't bring myself to open my mouth and order anything different. The next year I would order a $1 packet of fishballs. My diet hardly changed in the many years I was at school. Funny, huh? When I was in Sec 1, I would order a $1 bottle of green tea. I don't know why I didn't eat, but I hardly touched any food. I don't even know if it was because I was trying to lose weight or if I just had no appetite. Probably the latter. I had never been an overweight kid, so there was no reason for me to go on a diet. I tried puking my food up, but it never worked. I tried cutting myself - with a pen, how basic - but I could never bring myself to do it. Thank God, I have no tolerance for pain. Worse things could've happened to me back then if I had mixed about with the wrong crowd, but I guess that there are perks to being a lone wolf when one is feeling empty and alone. I am done with feeling invisible. I am done with feeling like I don't matter in this world. I do matter, and I know it.