My life generally has been pretty positive. I was raised by two parents whose commitment to their partnership is nothing short of a miracle. My family was incredibly supportive, the majority of my childhood was happy and my growing years passed by without many negative experiences. In general, I have been very lucky.
It was only last year, at the age of 25, when I met Hate.
I suppose it’s a little bit weird to say I met it for the first time, but I really think for the most part it’s an accurate description of what happened. I had been using the word Hate to describe a whole array of things that weren’t quite Hate. You could say I’ve been emotionally developing a little bit slower than everyone else.
I spent the majority of my teenage years thinking that apathy and faux-hatred was cool. When I got older, I realized how absurd it was so I forced myself to demonize certain emotions as bad. I didn’t want to be the bitter. I didn’t want to apathetic. I didn’t want to be the hateful. So, in my quest to try to be a normal human being, I did something inhuman and suppressed.
My suppression went mostly well for the first few years of my 20s. However at 24, I had just left a beautiful partnership of 5 years, and ended up in another relationship shortly after. This piece isn’t really about the relationship itself, but I have to divulge enough about it in order to tell this story properly.
This ‘relationship’ (going forward I will refer to it as the ‘thing’) was emotionally abusive. I understand now many people don’t put any weight in this. In any case, I was miserable but because I had suppressed a guilt I had from leaving my previous relationship, I tried harder to stay and “make it work.” In retrospect, my staying power and my ability to deal with discomfort is unusually high but not in the least admirable.
Fast forward a few months into the thing and I was sitting in front of a therapist with two fistfuls of used tissues having an emotional breakdown. This would be how the first couple of sessions with her would go. We would exchange pleasantries and I would sit down and I would cry.
After a few sessions of this, she softly said to me, “You have to learn how to hate.”
She explained to the tired, bleary-eyed girl in front of her that Hate offers protection against people who you feel have truly wronged you. It gives you the courage to step away from unhealthy situations and demand better for yourself. I was stunned. Up until then, I had never heard anyone describe Hate as anything more than negative.
Months later, I was in another seemingly endless fight and he had spit one last delusional accusation at me after spending hours railing into me about what a piece of shit I was. As soon as the last word left him, the new feeling in me was so powerful I thought I was going to pass out. It took all the energy I had to not let out the primal scream I knew was bubbling inside of me. It was all so unjustified. It felt like my head was going to pop off from all the pressure.
I don’t deserve any of this. No one does, really, but I felt especially victimized. My thoughts were racing, no, no, no, no, no, don’t let him do this to you again and then finally, I hate this. I hate him. I ran out of his apartment, and that was the last night I saw him.
This is fairly new territory for me to share something I consider to be deeply personal instead of talking about design but I’ve been thinking lately about how I want to represent myself online. I do have some reservations about publishing this and tying it to my name however I do not feel ashamed about what happened. I suppose I find the exercise of writing this out and sharing this a little cathartic. Not many people really want to read about the unpleasantries.
And while I do not know how or if it connects to my work at all, I felt compelled to share it based on this idea that representing myself as a complete individual is more compelling than simply being “a Product Designer.”
In any case, bear with me while I try to figure this out, and I hope someone out there finds this experimental writing at least a little bit interesting.