Cold War Kids

Water’s Edge – まぬが

People say that the cold war ended in 1991, but for me, it started in 1992.
The day I was born, the battlefield began, not with fighting and disruption but rather through a dissolution of what other kids find as a firm foundation to live life upon.

I do not remember this union, though I am told that it existed through pictures and memories of all those who had the opportunity to experience it’s ephemeral existence. No, for my sister and I, what we knew was shouting over the phone and proxy wars between two people who had said until death to us part but would like nothing more than to be apart at death.

I can almost perfectly recollect the wars that were fought using children as a weapon, swinging us back and forth, with each strike damaging and dulling our delicate mental health. To this day, I look around and wonder what little eccentricities may have bloomed from the battlefield of my mind. How many unexpected scars and traumas are waiting to be awakened in the myriad of moments I have yet to experience. With no way to determine or avoid distress used to brace myself constantly for the cataclysmic collision of conflicts that would crawl it’s way into my cranium.

I had been reflecting on this recently, about the way I never truly understood a sense of normalcy because my normal was made so askew that I believed mountains were valleys and valleys were mountains. Though I have since learned this lesson, I am left with this sense the “normal” life will never be within my grasp. Like a fish living in water, I will never fully understand the nature of the bird that was given a chance to fly.

I remember the days in and days out when I lost who I was, I lost choice, I lost breath, and most of all I lost all that was left. I became the puppet who you could pull the string and carry out a messy pantomime of what I believe to be a functioning human being. I remember the voice of those friends who told me that I would no longer be able to play with them because it was too hard to keep track of my schedule. I recollect all the opportunities that faded away because arranging a meeting became too much of a hassle. I still have engraved the moments I missed because I was not allowed to exist in a way that made sense. I lost so much I became obsessed with perserving all I could keep, but like sand on the beach, all that I could hold would ultimately wash away when the water comes in.

I wasn’t until after I returned home from college that I sought to find some solace and peace in the chaotic sprawl that had become my life. Even now, there are wounds all around from the damage done by everyone involved. Patterns of behaving that have no hope of a resolution. I find, though, that recognition of humanity in those superpowers that lead the fight as a way to cope with the travesties I experience growing up.

Though I recognize our faulty lives and acknowledge the inadequacies that pervade those who had a hand in shaping this situation, I can tell you that I still feel the sting of disappointment, even when the expectation is failure. Perhaps this is the last semblance of childish hope that stokes the light of a small candle within me.

I found acceptance in my unordinary life, though sometimes I wish things were easier. I may never know what it will be like to not have family drama or conflict, though I can be one to champion peace and understanding.

I can’t say every moment I lived was terrible, and I have nothing to look back to fondly, but like a flashing bulb, my dark memories still light up the ceiling as I lay in bed at night. I know that though the war may be over, its effects are long-lasting, even when I am thousands of miles away.

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