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Silence is scary.

Silence is scarcity, silence is subtraction, silence is proof of loneliness.

Noise is reassuring, you always know there is a world out there, driving by, ringing, talking, barking, existing. The world is and every action of human beings, animals and forces of nature is stressed by noise. You know that there is hope out there, there is society, there is humanity.

You surround yourself of sounds and noises and welcome them, you listen to your friends’ voices, turn on the radio while driving, turn on TV resting on your couch, lose yourself in the tapping of your fingers on the keyboard. You fill up your head with external influences.

But late at night, one by one the noises fade and disappear. Minute after minute you are left alone by the world outside, forced to face your inner voice, the one that never ceases. The one you can never fully cover up, the loudest one, the one you can’t run from.

Sometimes, it’s just made up by grocery lists, to do lists, foam-peanut thoughts, noise. When you decide to mute even that noise, what fills the void stinks of inadequacy, fear and torment. To do lists are replaced by what if lists, enumerating every single thing that might go south in your life, every imperfection, every weakness, every point that makes you hopeless and unlovable. Your inner voice screams in a hundred different voices how you’ll always be left alone, in silence.

When all the silence you need is that of your own hate.

Last day in Vietnam.

I’m worried about going home. And anxious about the flight. It hasn’t happened in so long, I honestly don’t know how to deal with this. I am scared of being scared. I get anxious at the idea of being frightened. It’s a stupid loop I can’t get out of. I suppose it might have to do with my return home. Because now the future is blank. I used to have very precise milestones to reach, goals to aim at. Go to New York, relax after the end of the competing season, go to Vietnam. Now there is nothing. Sure I am going to start training again in a month, but it all looks empty. I don’t have a project. I’m going back to my same old life with no purpose, tired of being so far away in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming country, yet not ready to go back home. I long for my own bed, my own shower and the cleanliness and safety of drinkable running water, but I am scared at the prospect of what awaits for me there.

The void, the expectation.

I haven’t seen Albert of course. I thought about him now and again, I hoped somehow he would be on the ground while I was here, but nothing happened. No text, no e-mail, nothing. I don’t know if we ever will see each other, or will continue writing blindly forever about this country that joined us and kept us apart when we were closest.

And going back home I will have to resume my contacts with Darius and Andrew. The prospect of having to break cover after so long is scary. I don’t know if they’ll even be interested in hearing from me again, everything might have turned upside down in two weeks. Or maybe it has for me while time stopped for everyone else trapped in their everyday reality.

I don’t feel different. Other than knowing now that I survived Asia, my first trip without my ex, my first journey in a less than perfect country, No offense to all the Vietnamese out there,

I am afraid to have walked backwards. I feel extremely vulnerable and somehow abandoned. Rarely have I felt this alone and in such need of physical intimacy. Nothing of the sorts met me here in Vietnam. I had hoped, strongly, but it wasn’t there. It’s never there. It won’t be there back home. That is also why I don’t really know what it is I am going back home to, other than my beloved pillow and some fresh lettuce.

There was a baby on the plane today, six months old, half Westerner half Asian. Her father was holding her but was painstakingly clumsy and inattentive. Equally the mother was painstakingly anorexic and pathologically overprotective. And the baby girl was the sweetest thing alive. I am not sure exactly how my brain processed all of that, but it got somehow filtered and it did not help calm my nerves.

I find myself again longing to be part of a couple. I shouldn’t but I wouldn’t know how to prevent it and avoid it.

I haven’t been at the top of my mental shape these last few days. Again I felt trapped in a life I am not that comfortable in, I felt trapped in a body I am not that comfortable with and mostly in a mind that does not make either thing easier. I felt inferior to others more than I have in a very long time. I looked at others with envy as they wore dresses that fit better than mine, I looked at others all paired up with wonderful and handsome boys and men I have never had and probably will never have in the future either, I looked at others so much better looking than me.

I try all the time to fill up that void with things I do I can be proud of. Does it work? I am not sure, somehow I am proud, of my skating, of my language skills, of my photography, of my cakes. But to what point what I can do defines what I am, who I am?

I need some time of peace and quiet. Away from the constant honking, away from strangers trying to get my attention and my money, away from others who try to steal everybody else’s attention including mine. Some time alone, some time when I can write and cry alone without indiscreet eyes of valets in the hotel lobby or travel mates to pretend to be fine to.

Sometimes I wonder what’s best. If I should rather burst in tears every now and let dark emotions flow free of restraints to purify my mind or hold back and try to pull myself together and prevent to break down every time I feel like doing it, just as E. Gilbert suggested.

I would have liked to spend some more time at a temple. That proved to be much closer to impossible than I would have thought. I should follow that lead back home.

So many things to do, so little time, so little money, so many words unspoken, tears unshed, hugs ungiven…

The thing about paranoia is: it’s sneaky, because what you fear is not really impossible, but it is never certain either.

It’s doubt, slithering under your skin, coiling around your stomach, overburdening your restless mind, speeding up your heart – for the wrong reasons.

It’s a loop of questions, a fidgety stream of words, a fretful search for evidence, for proof of being right or wrong, for potential.

It clouds your judgement, it distorts your judgement, it causes prejudgment.

It’s an assumption, but your life revolves around it with actions, feelings and thoughts strong enough to make the nightmare come true. It’s just an assumption, but it becomes your reality. You start elaborating grief, when no death has occurred, you start accepting the change, when the change has never come to happen, you plan your future on a present that never was.

And there goes the additional disquiet that you cannot trust your mind. Are you imagining things? Are you the obsessive nutjob? Or is it your instincts talking to you? Are you the only one seeing this? Does nobody else know hot to handle these things? Is it happening to me? Is it? IS IT?

You know, deep inside, that perception is telling you something is missing, that you may not be right, that you may have dreamt it all up, that you shouldn’t freak out over things before they happen. Because you know, they haven’t happened yet. Because if they had, there would be facts. Not doubts, not sensations, not hunches, facts. In all their unleashed ugliness. But your fear is no more than sweet anticipation.

Your fear is a cover up. Your obsession is not what you fear, your obsession is an excuse, it’s so evident and undeniable that every soul in the world would grant you pity and recognise your difficulty.

But the issue is subtler. It’s tiny, it’s ridicule, it’s inappropriate, it’s shameful, it’s unacceptable. It’s human. Yet we can’t possibly face something as harmless as human weakness, so we hide behind the inhumane. We imagine ourselves victims of the highest crimes to justify our petty suffering. We deprive ourselves of the joy of life and confirm our necessity of punishment, of atonement.

And we hope, sometimes, that our haunting fears would come true already, so we could stop once and for all to hurt ourselves and let others do it, while we try to finally love and protect our own.