You feel nothing

Over three years ago in March 2016, I wrote a story and translated it into a spoken word video. For some reason it seemed to resonate with people. I started writing the series Simon the sociopath in 2019, so it might be time to share what ‘I feel nothing’ is truly about, and how it is intertwined with prose about partner abuse I wrote after IFN.


This week I need general anesthesia due to surgery. A benign tumor needs to be removed from my back, which probably started to grow due to the medication I’ve been receiving for my depression (which is known to cause these). While I’m expecting no complications from the surgery, having to need a ‘friendly’ tumor removed from my back that is about the size of a tennis ball - and is barely visible on the outside - doesn’t make me feel very safe, especially due to general anesthesia. I hope I’ll be able to get back to writing soon - but in case of complications, I just want to leave something here, also given what’s been going on.

As an autistic with specific ‘autistic obsessions’ concerning symbolism in art, it’s been easier for me to communicate my thoughts through ‘art’, than to ask for help the ‘neurotypical’ (not autistic) way. When it comes to seeking guidance, I either say too little or too much, due to which miscommunication happens. I now know this, because I’ve been in the mental health care system receiving therapy and help for 3 years, and have been told my communication issues over and over again by professionals.

You share a book of information. So many details, people can’t keep up, don’t know where to start and miss your cry for help. That, or you share too little, because you are still processing what happened and is happening, and can only speak once you’ve processed everything.
— health care worker

Due to therapy I’ve been analysing my own behaviour the last few years, to find out what makes me vulnerable, and what I can do better myself when it comes to my communication. I recently realised that throughout my life I expressed myself through metaphors at different points, before I was finally able to speak my truth. I’ve identified it as a coping technique I use to get my story ‘on paper’ in a language I speak, before translating it to actual words others understand.

‘I feel nothing’ is an example of this.

Regardless of the questions people asked me about it, I never shared what it was truly about when I wrote it. First of all, I prefer to hear how other people interpret it. Secondly, it was a story I was not willing to share yet without metaphors.

I feel nothing (IFN) is a layered story about an abusive man and the woman he abuses.

In IFN, there seems to be one ‘protagonist’ speaking. A ‘second’ voice in the background however, is the hidden clue that the second layer of the story is about two people.

The first layer of the story talks about feeling a lot, but nothing at the same time. It’s a feeling people who are abused will probably recognise: one moment it feels like the pain will consume and kill you, the next, it feels like you are numb.

The second layer in IFN is hidden, but is hinted at throughout the story, through metaphors and mixing stills. The thumbnail of the video is the first clue: it shows a flower (a metaphor throughout history to symbolise a woman) surrounded by fire (Mars, the man).

 
 

The text in the story mixes personal thoughts and situations, in a way it seems to be spoken by one person, to hide the second layer. Through symbolism and missing words the story of the man and woman is told and intertwined, and below the surface, it tells the fear of the woman about what ending their relationship will mean for her.

In IFN, the woman covertly wrote what she wishes her abusive partner would confess. In her own admission about her fears, she uses metaphors to admit how terrified she is of him. She mirrors his behaviour (cloaking) in her writing, using words like ‘rock’ to indicate the man will not change and ‘birds and trees’ to refer to herself, the one who does change (and is ready to leave him) and can die (unlike the rock). The man is a bomb, which is indicated by a clock that keeps ticking. There are two clocks shown in the video, indicating again there’s a second layer to the story.

The man is the bomb ready to explode and the woman is the one on a deadline, fearing what he will do when she will leave.

The woman feels a lot, but the man feels nothing. Everything he does, is because he has no empathy, morals or soul. In psychological terms, he would be called someone with Narcissistic/Anti-Social Personality Disorder. A sociopath.

I feel nothing is a conversation written by the woman, between the man and woman.

The story is the truth about their relationship, where the man finally takes responsibility and owns up to the abuse - which he never truly does in reality, while that’s what the woman needs him to do. In reality, the man does everything covertly, even when he confesses abuse to her in private. For example, he will never truly say ‘I abused you’, but rather: ‘I admit that the last few days were really bad’.

I feel nothing was and is about my former relationship with Simon.

Below, an example where Simon uses the line ‘I admit that the last few days were really bad’ after I addressed his name-calling, psychological and physical power games, and intimidation. After his covert confession of guilt, I tell him I want him to admit everything he did, such as how he jumped on me while trying to choke me with his elbow, and kept me awake for hours with a flashlight.

 
Simon 02.jpg
 

I feel nothing - You feel nothing

Explained
woman: I feel (I feel) [clue man] so much
man: and yet I feel nothing [without morals or soul]

woman: am I living or surviving?
the bomb (man) keeps ticking
woman: our time is up
clue about the two stories, voices
that are colliding
man to woman: you run and hide from me
woman to man: you shout and scream at me
man to woman: you are the innocent one
woman to man: you abuse me (and don’t admit it) and live in a fantasy world

woman: I pick myself up
man to woman: I tear everything apart (literally)
woman to man: I tear everything apart (stop the relationship)

man to woman: my self destruction
woman to man: your self destruction
woman: has set so deep in my heart

woman: how can I fix you (the man)
woman: when you were born this way (the man)
man to woman: why do I abuse you
man to woman: after apologising for abusing you last time
woman: why do you not stop (the man)
woman: our time is up
woman: why do you do (the man)
woman: what you do (the man)
woman: I am stuck
woman: I’ve got problems I can’t escape
woman: in my soul, because I know I have one
woman: I feel so much
man: and yet I feel nothing [man; without morals or soul]

man: I will not change
woman: I am the one who changes
woman: and can die (unlike the rock)
woman: I’m everything but a rock
Woman: I am the one running who is stuck (to the ground)
man: the one who I abuse
man: I am the poison
woman: in which I drown [man: you are nothing]
woman: our time is up
man: your time is up
woman: I’m on a deadline
woman: he’s waiting for me
woman: to end this, to break
woman: and then he will come for me
man: because I feel nothing

Original
I feel (I feel) so much
and yet I feel nothing

am I even alive?
the clock keeps ticking
tick tick ticking
and yet everything happens
at the same time
you run and hide
you shout and scream
you sing and dance
you fight and dream

I pick myself up
tear everything apart


self destruction

has set so deep in my heart

and how do I fix
what is not broken
and why do I break
the things I already mended
And why does time keep on ticking
tick tick ticking
why does it move forward
to places I don’t want to go
I guess I am in deep
troubled and lost
in my own soul
I feel so much
and yet I feel nothing

I am a rock
I am the sky the birds
and the trees
and everything beyond
I am the wind the fields
in which I roar
I am the water
in which I drown (nothing)
and time just keeps on ticking
tick tick ticking
tick tick ticking
waiting for me
to fall apart
and time just keeps on ticking
I feel nothing

Follow the pattern

Simon can be found in The Final Fuck You. It’s a rape story hidden behind metaphors. I wrote it in October 2016, days after my (work)partner abused me (‘the youtuber’).

The youtuber was the second partner who raped me. As a result, I ended up suicidal in a hospital due to acute stress disorder which resulted in complex PTSD; an unwelcome present to my brain after years of partner abuse. The youtuber had been ‘the final drop’ in the bucket. You can find this ‘drop’ literally and symbolically mentioned, as well as a clock again and the sky (fading horizon), just like in I feel nothing).

Her mom’s critique though, the only thing she can hear, is the final drop of many that recently have been overflowing the shit-bucket better known as her life.

(...)

I’m not a drop in an ocean, she thinks. I’m not taking part in something bigger. I’m not a gear inside a clock. I’m the ever fading horizon you can never catch or reach. I’m the shadow of the moon; a figment of the stars. I’m not inside an ocean. I’m stuck in a great big mud pool.

— The Final Fuck You

After Simon I told myself I would never allow a man to abuse me again. I remember thinking around the time he sent me his rape fantasies after I broke up with him: the next time a man abuses me, I will go to the police. I was too terrified to do that with Simon at the time. Why? Due to him living so close to me and our mutual social network. The details surrounding my fear I want to leave out of the story for now - they’re too painful.

I was never able to share what happened in my life before the youtuber who raped me - because of my fear of Simon. The youtuber - who knew what Simon had done to me - actually used him against me in an attempt to keep me silent. I was too afraid to share this in the articles I previously wrote about him. During a confrontation when I told the youtuber I was going to the police, he said:

“Simon did to you what I did, but you never filed a report against him. How does that work? Is that fair?”

Hearing the youtuber try to use Simon against me to stay silent, caused a moral conflict at the time difficult to describe. It made me suicidal and fucked with my moral code and ideas about good and bad. I never imagined I would be in the position again where a partner would abuse me, but I was. When the youtuber started blackmailing and threatening me as well, I wanted to die. That’s when I got hospitalised.

Since I’ve decided to testify against Simon in civil court this month due to how dangerous he has become to me, the truth about how the youtuber blackmailed and manipulated me - most of it - can finally be told. Simon and the youtuber actually come together in The Final Fuck You, metaphorically.

Original

The man is a machine and I hold onto him and I cannot let go. I am willingly, hopelessly, lost. And I do not care, because I am barely different from a clock. One day, I will stop. Until then, it doesn't matter how many hours won't or will pass. The original function of a thing doesn't change because it breaks down. It just gets a new, second name: trash. I just hope for the clock it doesn't mistake a bomb for a battery, and ticks into garbage early. What's early though, if time doesn't mean a thing?

(…)

Then, darkness, followed by.. Light?

It's me. I am the light. I feel naked. Sounds that sound familiar but I cannot place penetrate my, something. Do I have ears again? What am I? Where am I? I feel pain.

(…)

Curved flesh. A.. smile? Big faces; and I am small. I see things that will decay. I'm back at the start, and I cannot escape. The same cycle all over again. Has this happened before? I can feel my collected memories fade, and all I can think is: Fuck. I was wrong.

Explanation

The man is a bomb [Reference to I feel nothing, previous partner abuse] and I am stuck to him. I cannot escape him because I’m afraid it would put me in danger so I’m not escaping him willingly (yet), in order to protect myself. But maybe I should not care, because I am barely different from a clock (actual clock, but it’s a reference to IFN). One day, I will stop and die. Until then, does anything matter at all? Just because I die, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t alive, or that I was at all. I will just be dead. But does it matter, if nothing matters at all?

(…)
Something horrible is happening, which is followed by a moment of epiphany. The epiphany happens in my own mind. Something is happening that has happened to me before, which I’m starting to realise. I describe the rape by using the word ‘penetrate’ and ‘pain’. I remember this happening before.

Here, I describe a flash-back to previous partner abuse. I ‘remember’ this happening with someone else, and realise how I had blindsided myself from all that pain, and from what was going on, due to which it clouded my vision towards the new partner. I can feel how my mind tries to protect me by ‘hiding’ myself from my previous trauma somewhere in the darkness of my mind.

The first abuser after Simon was the youtuber I filed a police report against, and the second abuser after Simon was a witness in my rape case against the youtuber, who used his witness testimony against me in 2018. Against him, a police report has been filed too. In He will kill someone one day, I reference to this witness, where I call him ‘Two’, the second abuser after Simon.

In Melody of Love, I acknowledge that the first and second abuser after Simon, were actually abuser two and three, because Simon was the first partner who ever abused me.

[Melody of love]

One
You have always known
that
Two was not Two

really
he was
Three

because I had his heart
in my body
when
you knocked me
to
the
floor

[He will kill someone one day]

Can I make it from Summer to Fall?
Break free without losing it all?
I remember crying to the blue
How I was in ‘one’ already
And how I couldn’t do two
when two became you

Is this my life now?
Do I have to fight you too?

With one there was the interrogation
Endless meetings
constant humiliation
The waiting and the shame
Oh, the self-shame, the self-hate!
If I had broken your bones
They would have believed me

Abuser 1

In ‘Melody of Love’, Simon is referenced again, this time clearly. The ticking of the clock previously used in IFN is mentioned. You can also find similar phrases like the ones used in I feel nothing, such as ‘you watched me drown and fall apart’ and ‘tear everything apart’. In the prose, I describe all the fears I had in I feel nothing - that Simon would come for me one way or another if I would leave - that came true.

And what I still don’t get
is how you wanted
not to lose me
but to keep me
but refused to show me
unless you count the
bitter words
and bruises
as the love I had been missing

Is that love?
Because then I know love
Oh
I know love
I know what I’m missing

And what I still don’t get
is why you taunt me
forever haunt me
and how you murder everything
that
once
was
unless you count the
bitter words
and bruises
as love

But is that love?

‘I love you’ he said and
‘Men never get over it’ so
‘Allow me to hate you’ and
‘shame you’ and blame you’
‘to tear everything apart’

from the start

Oh
I know what I’ve been missing

It is
what you need
what you scream in my face
while time
keeps on
ticking
tick tick ticking

I shall ask once more
Is that love?

Because then I know love
Oh
I know love

I know what I’m missing

I was a fool
not just once

Two

Pain it was
to run from insane
but sane it was
to run from the pain

Three
And I’m running
I’ve been running
All my life

Can you tell?
Because they could

Melody of Love is the piece where I accept that I have been abused since the age of 19 by 3 different men I was close with, who are all mentioned throughout the prose, by using the numbers ‘One’, ‘Two’ and ‘Three’.

It’s the piece where I recognise that those men who abused me never truly loved me, and that those relationships were about humiliation and control.

Melody of love is also a confession of love for one specific person, if you can read between the lines.

Since you have the code to my language now, you might be able to read my story.

I’ll give you a hint: when I re-uploaded I feel nothing on my main channel, I used a self-portrait of myself in the preview image of the video.

 

Bleeding Soul (2011); self-portrait.

 

Simon is a non-chronological series on domestic violence, sexual abuse, and complicity and enablement of third parties in abuse. All names in this series have been changed because the stories in this series are autobiographical.

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Simon's girlfriend is dating a pedophile

Simon's girlfriend is dating a pedophile