Lingchi – Death by 1000 Cuts (a story)
There was no big thing where she bled out 40% or more of her blood and off she went to heaven.
It was the little slights; the jokes at her expense; the criticisms; the promises broken; people not taking her seriously; boundaries overstepped… You know, nothing major. But she lost a tear each time and for some reason, she was never resupplied. She had one tear less for the rest of her life. And another. And another…
It never seems like much. It’s like one needle stick for a blood test or a paper cut. They don’t seem like much, but to her it seemed like days worth of pain and hemorrhaging, because she didn’t have any resources to replenish her reservoir. She became emotionally anemic.
She drank a sip of wine and she was drunk, she took a hit off a spliff and she was high. She ate one bite of chocolate and she gained 50 pounds.
No explanation, it was just the way she was.
It was real. The hurt hurt, the fear was felt and there for all to see. Not a delusion. not a nightmare. Reality.
Most could survive it. But she could not. It was crushing her spirit.
Some said she had no heart. But she knew she felt things deeply. She knew because when someone hurt her feelings, her chest hurt so bad it was like she was having a heart attack. When she saw something sad, she cried. It broke her heart. She could no longer watch the news. She couldn’t watch sad movies. And anger made her shake all over.
She had to bluster just to get thru the day. No one realized that she had no sense of self. She seemed fine to them. No one realized she had no sense of other. She seemed fine to them.
Each year, she shrunk into herself a bit more. Her soul to her was a prune. It used to be a juicy plum. But all these hurts and fears were taking her over. Choking her. And her plum withered.
She was chained by fear, loneliness, shame, and desperation till she could hardly move. Her body was so tense, she shuffled if she had to go somewhere.
She was in agonizing pain. She had to blend her food and use a straw to get food into herself, yet she choked on it anyway.
And it was all emotion. She was a ball of tension. Untill finally she had to explode. Her fury came out, like a demon and everything let loose. She didn’t just spew words or screams. Oh no! She vomited and peed herself and diarrhea ran down her leg, her rage was such a horror-filled relief. Which might explain why she’d rather be in pain and shuffle than let this go. Esp in public.
So she grew smaller and smaller. Her soul the smallest prune ever known.
Until one day, she just stopped breathing. Her air was choked off. But nothing was stopping it from going on.
Nobody could figure out what happened to her. They thought she was mentally ill. Maybe… But if she was it was one of the worst psychosomatic cases ever charted. One for the journals.
You don’t think that is serious? Cancer, heart disease and strokes are psychosomatic conditions. But you still die. Most people don’t understand what that word really means.
She baffled her doctors. And as doctors do, they stopped looking after a certain point. They really hate being at a loss. At that point, they blame the patient’s mind.
Some might say that the mind never kills someone, but I disagree. You can literally die of fear. And sadness can take your life.
So why would you leave someone in such a state, knowing the result will be that your failure to understand is what will take their life?
You can’t help but hurt someone, but you can at least in genuine empathy tell them that you’re sorry. Right?
Maybe that’s what she lacked in her life. Someone who was genuinely sorry. To fill her up again.