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What keeps you up at night?




Hey folks, so this is just a quick heads up (think of it as a disclaimer of sorts) that this post is currently being written at 05:02 AM using dictation because I am bloody exhausted. Well, too exhausted to type coherently, but I feel like I just need to talk through a thing and get it off my chest. It’s less that I want to get it off my chest, and more so that I want to get it out of my head. As with all things, if anything is stuck in your head for too long, it kind of makes you a bit insane, so I guess what I’m trying to do here is just lighten the load a little so I can finally get some sleep.

The past two nights I’ve been having this recurring dream/nightmare, or thought, I’m not really sure how to phrase it here. It has consistently been about my future and more specifically, my future with a partner. I’m not exactly sure what I’ve been watching and reading recently that may be influencing these thoughts – or if it’s just all this unnecessary talk of marriage recently that is making me plain crazy, but they have been insane to the extent that if I start to explain it now you will all probably be like “what? What are we talking about here?” but, I plan to tell you about it all the same.

So here’s how it always starts: I am sitting in a room across the table from a partner who is always a little blurred out. We are almost always having a pretty normal conversation which turns sour very fast. And when I say sour, I mean the sudden flip of a switch kind of sour. As someone who has always stepped away from confrontation, I find myself within these situations at the forefront of it. Voices rise, breaths quicken, and knuckles turn white. Hands come crashing down and mouths are silenced. Tears are shed for no-one in particular. This heated moment passes as quickly as it comes but leaves its mark all the same. I find myself sitting across the room, once again, in sombre silence. Expressionless at the partner standing before me weeping like a child, seeking forgiveness for their actions of the moment. My heart is telling me that this is a one-off, that this will never happen again, but the generations of women hurt in my bones rise up to remind me that they all once thought the same of their lovers. These generations of women remind me that with their agency stripped consistently by the men in their lives, they died untimely deaths at these very hands.

With nothing but silence on my part, I see the sudden change in my partner. The tone has changed and the expressions have hardened. This is no longer my lover, but a man who is reminding me of my worth. A man who is reminding me that I am below him. This is now a man I no longer know. And this, this is my cue to leave.

With slamming doors and threats that no longer sounded empty, I continued to wait motionlessly in hope that he would soon exit the house that is no longer our home. He towers over me a final time, and with no satisfactory response, mutters a few derogatory terms and slams the front door shut behind him. I walk over to the mirror and assess the damage – a quick job with a few spots of foundation later, I change my clothes, pack a bag of essentials, and am out the door. Though I know stepping over the threshold is not the end, my heavy heart can’t help but squeeze a small sigh of relief.

Though in reality I am aware that the first place I would turn to is the home of either one of my best friends or my parents, in this dream, I find myself in a world I don’t recognise. I had spent so long building this ideal version of a life and lover that I’d lost my hold on the world around me. This dream continues in an endless cycle of being contacted by this man and needing to live on the move in order to avoid being found by him, and it is never until I fully force myself awake that I can pull myself out of this nauseating trance-like state.

Do you guys see what I mean now by weird and grossly uncomfortable? I feel like every time I almost get to that deep sleep stage I am in such desperate need of, my mind automatically picks up wherever I left off and to avoid being sucked back into it, I force myself awake.

(it is now 06:40 AM and my body will most definitely not be thanking me for this during the day)

I know that for some people, what I have described, without going into too much detail, is a daily reality, and for you guys, I send out my warmest regards. I am so sorry that things are like this and I wish I could do something for each and every one of you, but I need you to know that you are absolutely not alone and most definitely under no obligation to stay. You, my love, are a human worthy of the world and you do not deserve to feel any less. I know it’s not much or nothing you don’t already know, but I have included some links to helplines that work around the clock to provide support of every kind to help you both get out of the situations you’re in and get back on your own two feet:

Abuse is abuse, no matter the abuser. Speak out and let your voice be heard. You do not need to stand for this any longer.



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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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