Ever heard of Hanahaki disease? It’s lethal, it’s horrifying, it’s also totally fictional as hell.
Fan-fictional that is. It’s a trope found in some fan fictions on the Internets. Here’s the run down : someone falls in love. The beloved doesn’t love them back. Good setup so far huh, unrequited love is always so juicy and angsty. Makes for a good story, lots of drama.
The suffering caused by the unrequited love manifests itself as a bloom of flowers growing deep within the lover’s heart. In time, flower petals and blood get coughed up as the pain grows more intense and the flowers and brambles grow inside and begin to crowd out the lungs and heart, maybe puncture a few vital organs. Maybe you can relate? Are you there now? Do you got yourself a dose of Hanahaki disease?
There are several prognoses. One, the lover confesses their love to their beloved and some kind of resolution is found, whether love is reciprocated or not. The flowers stop choking the lover to death, this is the good ending. Maybe some kind of peace of mind is found. Life continues, everyone moves on into the grand glorious future.
Maybe the outcome is the second one. The lover cannot or will not express their feelings to their loved one, and instead opts to have the flowers surgically removed. This cures the pain and the terminal diagnosis of the disease, but it comes at an enormous cost : you’ve pulled an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and can’t recall any of the feelings or experiences you had with the beloved. Would it be worth it to erase everything if it meant you lived, if it meant you were no longer in pain?
Perhaps option 3 is how things go down. This is the genocide route, as any fan of Undertale might recognize the reference.
It’s impossible to choose to erase this beloved person out of your life. But, it’s also impossible to talk to them about the way you feel. And the flowers grow and grow and grow and kill you slowly, agonizingly, the longest kind of torture there is because not only is there no escape from the pain and its unending duration but also because you are utterly alone in your pain.
Suffering seems to be a communal thing, evolution-wise. People are meant to grieve together, to band together to experience horrifyingly low times. This is part of our survival mechanism.
But what if you can’t say how you feel, can’t say how much you’re suffering?
What if the flowers bloom for a friend? A close friend whom you do not want to lose? What if they bloom for someone who will never, ever, not EVER feel that way about you? Because he is a young man, like you, but unlike you, he can only have those kinds of feelings for the ladies?
What if you are trapped in this impossible situation where you cannot move one way or the other, and there is no end in sight? What if it’s been going on for years?
Does this sound stupid as hell to you? Melodramatic? You got every right to feel the way you feel. But this is what I feel, too.
I don’t want to have these feelings. I don’t want to feel this way towards someone who will never feel that way towards me. But, if I could just switch off my feelings, I would have by now. There is no switching off feelings, especially LOVE feelings. The brain and the heart are made to feel love. It’s ingrained in our existence, to love and be loved. So, the idea that you can just quickly and easily move on from these kinds of feelings : ridiculous. Laughable. Silly. Spoken like someone who has never felt this way before.
Maybe you might be thinking by this point, just move on. Find someone else to love. What’s the point of feeling that way about someone who won’t ever feel that way about you. Or maybe you’re thinking, why is it so hard to just say it? Just say it to him, if it’s hurting you so much.
These are good suggestions. Healthy. Balanced. I am neither of those things. I am deeply alone and deeply in pain. I’m on fire. I have been for years. I am on fire and I am so goddam lost.
I am choking to death on flower petals. And I am sure that pretty soon, something will have to change. I can’t go on like this anymore. Pretty soon, I’ll be on the other side of resolution. Or, I’ll be separated, dislocated from my friend. Or, I’ll be dead.
Suicide is the enemy in this space. Depression, anxiety, despair, loneliness, alienation.
I feel like I was born to be alone. What does Travis Bickle say in “Taxi Driver”? In bars and in cars, I am God’s Lonely Man.
Take care of yourself,