I’m not myself when I’m not writing. I become the shadow of a soul that breathes for the expulsion of words. My fingertips cannot keep all the things I have to say stored away, and if I wait too long the words come spilling out of my mouth instead. It is dangerous to be a writer.
I am looking at photos of my body; mutilated. A police officer is showing them to me, telling me what happened and I can’t believe the body in the pictures belongs to me. Patches of skin have been cut off my chest and my flesh is bloody and bruised. He is telling me I was hurt, all over, very badly, and that they haven’t caught him yet.
This, this is the real fear underlying all else: that I was not safe and I could not be. I rushed to all the doors and triple-locked them and I was so paranoid; checking and rechecking and looking out windows. But he was out there, and he was waiting for me and he had hurt me; he owned me now. No matter where I went, or what I did, I knew he would be there. And that feeling has lingered in my chest all day. Sick with fear and paranoia. He was so much more than just a figment of my imagination, he was a culmination of everything I’m most afraid of. And the way I felt him was like the blood in my veins; warm and constant. I did not have to see him to know what he looked like or be in his presence to know he was there.
Bought beer with what little money I had left and it may have been the best decision of my life or the worst. After chugging two I found myself feeling incredibly good, all over, within and without. This feeling always leads me to the same question though, why don’t I always do this? The relief my mind and body felt after those drinks was immeasurable. Why was I not constantly in a state of head-buzz?
After the fourth (these were downed in less than a half hour) I was drunk. The good, loud, confident drunk. But my anxiety became uncomfortably out of control; it made me sick to my stomach (literally, over and over again). I was in the bathroom for hours, emptying the entire contents of my body. And as I sat there, alone and reeking of my own vomit, I remembered asking myself why I don’t always do this and here is the answer: because two beers leads to four leads to more. Because I never know when to stop. Because feeling good never lasts.
Sometimes you drink your coffee black and bitter just to find out all the sugar was at the bottom.
The better the thing you gave up, the greater the sacrifice. And the greater that sacrifice, the less you owed yourself. And when you constantly owe yourself so much, giving things up becomes natural. You see, we do whatever we can to appease our hungry self-hatred and in the late hours of the night all we have is all we have given up.
“It’s difficult to not be anxious in a place full of so many people. It makes me hyper aware of myself and my own body and just how incongruous I am. Some things beat at us for so long we give them up; until that moment when just a tiny whisper reminds us again and we’re reunited with a truth we’d rather not know. So it is with my body, but whispers have turned to loud voices and more than a tiny part of me knows this means change. Anything to shut the voices up.”
“My body takes up more space than my mind and heart can allow. It is sad when you feel you are one thing but the mirror shows that you are something else. There is such a conflict between my soul and its’ home. And this is the seed which is planted far beneath any surface I can reach; a voice telling me I am not what I am supposed to be. And this is something no thought or feeling in my being can argue with.”
-Excerpts from 2015 journal in which I was traveling between Amsterdam and Epsom
There are secrets we keep, balled up in our stomachs as we poke them and watch our flesh move. I tell everyone who will listen about the wonderful month I spent traveling abroad in Amsterdam and Epsom; how beautiful the streets were and the amazing smell of the bakeries. But you know what I do not tell them? I never tried a Danish pastry while I was there. I wouldn’t let myself. I barely ate for a month, exercised every day, and came back to my friends and family who glowed at me and said “You look great!” It’s so hard not to hide your excitement, that rush of pride for all your hard work at being thin, thin, thin. And I would’ve stopped sooner if I hadn’t been treated so wonderfully for simply being (in a word) less.
Some secrets are too much to keep, and come spilling out of us in unhealthy ways, changing us.
Row after row of burgundy pew and that crimson carpet like Jesus himself bled out in this church. I am biting back laughter so hard that I am afraid I may actually burst; can a person explode from keeping joy inside? My mother is giving me The Eyes and I know I will in turn receive The Lecture about how this is a sacred place and we come here to worship, not to laugh. The thing is, everyone worships in different ways. I wish I could share this joy with my mother, here in this place where love is taken so seriously. I wish our love didn’t have to be a stern obligation. And I wish I could burst out laughing, because I am happy, so happy today, but instead I am physically hurting myself by preventing my muscles from contracting into a laugh. And I get a quick head nod from my mother, as if this sacrifice provides redemption for my actions. As if laughing in church would be the reason I would end up in hell and not a warped sense of what love is.