This is not a "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" type of story, because a coffee is NOT just a coffee for me.
People think I just like the taste and / or I'm addicted to coffee or very passionate about it. But there's a true love story with me and coffee, that goes beyond that, and it's actually really nice - in the aftermath. Even though it started badly, a cup of coffee was my first step towards self love.
So here I go getting uncomfortably personal again…
Trigger warning: rather heavy content, with mentions of abuse and struggles with hopelessness
About 4-5 years ago, I found myself in deeply abusive and life draining circumstances. I can’t call it an “abusive relationship”, because that’s not how any relationship should look, but to clarify, my predicament was in relation to someone very toxic and wrong for me, who I couldn’t see as they were for a very long time, as they were too close to home (treating me as my mother used to since forever) and they were in my blind spot.
Therapy helped with putting each desirable and undesirable projection back to where they belonged, and I’m still immensely grateful to the best therapist I’ve ever known, whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet back then in Belgrade.
If you’ve had the misfortune to be targeted by a narcissist or saw someone who was, you are familiar with the nature and typical development of their abuse, and how it gets one trapped in an apparently inescapable situation, where death sounds like a kindness. I realize as I'm writing this, that these events still weight heavily on me. But bear with me, the story doesn't end there.
After a few months of gaslighting and abuse, my world was reduced to four walls, a computer, and pain, and I spent so much of my everyday crying and suffering (while working a lot, smoking, and abusing alcohol for a while), that it got to the point where everything was just a big limit and it was pointless and dangerous to wish for anything more in life. Those were increasingly hopeless days, and I had just a little bit of awareness accessible. With that, when I honestly asked myself "what do I want now?", all I had left to wish for (read it as “could be allowed to want”) was for someone to bring me a damn cup of coffee. Just like that. Not to fix my relationship, not to change the past or future, not anything anymore. All of that was backfiring, so I gave it all up, as I stood no chance of getting it, and I just wished for someone to give me a cup of coffee. Simple, no words, just the warm beverage.
And on that day, when everything began to change, again no one was coming to my rescue with the desired caffeinated salvation, and I was "dramatically" crying on the living room's floor (in its defense, the floor had a very comfy rug on it, unlike the bathroom floor, that some of you are familiar with as a good spot to have a meltdown on, privately). I was exhausted, everything was wrong, this was not how it was supposed to be, and I just wanted my damn coffee. And somehow, by I don't know what kind of magic (it's the magic of love, y'all 🤭), I found the strength to get up, go to the kitchen, boil some water, and make me a cup of coffee. And just like that, the coffee that I wanted and needed was there, made by me, right then and there! 😍
Don't get me wrong, I was still crying and shaking through all that, making the coffee, drinking it. But I managed to make myself the coffee I wished for, and for the unforgettable first time, I filled my own cup, and noticed that even if it looks like there's no one in the whole world there for me, I can still show up for myself, I have it in me. If that's not love, I don't know what it is! 😌 ☕️ = 🥰
Funny enough, I managed to dig up a picture of said coffee, from back in the day. Not the best, not something I'd drink now (now I'm a coffee snob - no regrets), but heeeey!..
It didn't get instantly easy after that, but I kept getting up.
It's about the ripples one event has.
To fast forward, the next time my abuser barged in asking for money (to also buy me coffee, lol, but it was not the first time they took money for it), I didn't need it from them anymore, so I said no. The next time when they came to demand more while again postponing to return what they already took, they seemed mean and uncaring, and it suddenly occurred to me that they might just be using me, so I said no. The next time when they screamed, accused, and pushed me around until I apologized for things I never did, rather than beginning to put myself down too, I asked for a second opinion, on a Facebook group, and among strangers I found out that no one deserves to be treated as I was, and that I'm worthy of love no matter what, even when I can't give it to myself. So they gave it me, these strangers showered me with love, until I began to feel a hint of it once again. After that, I went no contact, with both my abuser and pretty soon my mom too, and I dug my way out of there (probably the hardest thing I ever had to do), affected, yes, scared, yes, but damn alive, and this all started with that cup of coffee.
So I kept the coffee. With every cup, there's an "I love you" that I can trust (even when it keeps me up at night or slightly hurts my stomach because I overdo it 😂🙈). With every coffee I am reminded that I live to tell the story, although I really thought (and for a while even wished) I won't. Not to worry about the coffees, I don't keep all this pressure on them, poor beverages, imagine all that responsibility. I usually just enjoy them for the magic potions they are, and this stays in the background. But it's there, my not-so-secret-anymore love story with coffee. 🥰
And please: before you go and congratulate my abuser or me on how this made me stronger and point out silver linings - do not, because it did not. I’m still in constant pain because of it, I still have flashbacks and doubt my reality and my self worth because of it, and I have to put a constant, daily effort to pull myself out of it. What made me stronger was and always will be love! 🙏❤️ Let me say that again: love is the answer, not pain and suffering. And coffee. ☕️ Now you know! 😜