Wednesday, September 20, 2017

9-20

I have always been afraid.

As a child I slept with a wide flat light plugged in beside the bed, to ward off the things I couldn't see. The things I couldn't see, I imagined, and my imagination has always been unguarded and wild.

I was frightened of things I did see, undisguised in the light. My father's angry fists striking through walls and doors, or falling on the ribs of my brothers as I sat in still shock and did not know what to do because I was a child and the parent must be obeyed so what he was doing had to be right even though it did not feel right.

I was frightened of my brother too, in different ways. I was frightened of his attention and his ridicule, wondering what mood he would be in, whether he would love me and perhaps even be kind and play a game with me, or if he would be jeering, feeding me candy coated with salt or encouraging me to jump off the treehouse, or pinching the sides of my body and telling me I was getting fat and no one loved me.

Once as a little child I was very sick, sick enough that I could not go to the Titanic exhibit which, even then, was strangely crushing. I read children's books by Robert Ballard and stared with wonder at a pair of boots buried in the sand, their inhabitant eaten away by time and sea water and fish. I wanted to see this marvel, this destruction, the pieces of memory that remained from a tragedy that took so many from their boots. I wanted to see what was left of them and try to learn who they were, so they were not forgotten. I have always been frightened of being forgotten.

But I was sick. My father and brothers went without me, and my mother sat with me over a hot bucket as I breathed in steam with a towel over my head and cried because my body hurt and my throat was on fire and I was so tired and I wanted to see the Titanic exhibit.

When I slept that night, the wide flat light cast the shadows of skeletons on the wall above my head. They danced and laughed, disregarding me, but still they frightened me. I tried to cover my eyes but the darkness was worse - large gaping mouths - I preferred the merry skeletons. It was a fever dream, perhaps, or a hallucination, but I cried and I was afraid, and I am sure I scared my mother with my talk of seeing dead things dancing above me.

I don't remember when I stopped being afraid of the things in the dark. Adulthood settled in on me. Reality settled in. I slept with the light on because I was more afraid of my real life. Something sharp under the pillow, a phone nearby. How could I be afraid of things that don't exist when a true monster lived rooms away?

I became frightened of other things. Of proving people wrong, of being disliked, of failing. Of people finding out that I slept with a knife under my pillow and I knew what red and blue lights in the dark look like. That I have struck out to defend myself ,and I have thrown bottles of pills at the monster that haunted me and taunted him to take them so I could finally be free of the fear and the humiliation and the constant constant wondering when the moon would rise full and he would turn.

Those memories are finally fading, though I will never be free of them. I can only build myself a new life, where these secrets are not my shame. Where I admit that I lived frightened like a small animal and yet I survived. I have a foundation around me and it is new but strong. I do not have to be the frightened girl anymore.

I drag them with me, now, fighting their pull. I make nine cakes in two days because I am scared to ruin a cake. I can't be the girl who can't bake a cake. I can't be the girl who fails at something so simple as a cake.

I shake my shackles and I pull harder. I pick up the paintbrush and the pen, I mix sticky resin in a cup and I spill it on myself and I smell like chemicals, but I brace myself and I push forward.

It is hard to be gentle to myself. I want to ignore the things I carry with me so badly. I want to sleep, comatose, until I wake and all my lessons have been learned, but that is not life. Life is messy and frightening and bloody and bright and brilliant and I will not move forward unless I let myself feel it.

So I cry into the pillow and the dog, I wipe resin off my pants. I tell myself it is okay to make just one cake even if it is not the best cake.

I blink fast to rid myself of the pressing urgency to be perfect, perfect and tell myself I have nothing to fear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9-19

When I am sitting still my restless hands have little to do but hunt out ways to reach out to hurt you.

Things are boiling within. I want to unleash them, but then I'm proving you right. I lash out, I regret, I retreat, I fill up with steam once more.

The unfairness. The injustice. I roil with anger at it. That you think you can just leave this path behind you and choose another. That you can turn away from the consequences of your choices. That we won't haunt you.

My hands twitch and itch and I look for ways to strike at you.

But I am not a ghost.

I cannot be still with this pressure burning in me.

I am not a ghost. I remind myself, pinching the fat of my palm between my thumb and forefinger. I look at photos of myself to remember. I exist. I am real.

I am more than a haunting memory. I cannot enforce your guilt. You will never feel the shame that you should. You walk away from the damage you inflicted and you see only the beauty ahead for you, not the storm clouds and broken buildings you left behind.

They say life is unfair and this is life and I wonder if I want a life where things are this truly unfair.

But I am not a ghost, I must focus on living.

When I can move, I forget you. I sit cross-legged on the floor and my hot angry hands move fast and they fly over new things, touching and feeling and experimenting and learning, and I am alive again for a while.

You have no place in my living mind.

I twist wires with thin-faced tools and there is red paint under my nails and things spread around me waiting for me to come to them and make them alive, and I am focused, and you are gone from my mind then because you are nothing in comparison to living.

I am not bones and a corpse to bury in your muck. I am not the wraith you made me, crawling and clawing after you, gaping toothless mouth, wide unseeing eyes.

I am warm blood and fast pupils and a bright brain and eager fingers. I am happy when I move. I feel music bubbling under my ribcage, replacing the empty socket where you drained and drained and drained me because you did nothing, nothing but take, and then you demanded more, and better, and you left me an open wound.

Dorian Gray, you were exhausting. You did nothing but pull the good things out of me and scoff at what remained.

The unfairness of it.

When I sit still it overwhelms me. I must keep moving, I must stay alive, because you are dead for me.

Monday, September 18, 2017

9-18

I looked at your face last night, Dorian, and I did not feel anything.

No drop in the pit of my stomach. No swelling blackness behind my eyes. No frantic urgency. No desperation. No anger and loss.

I did not feel anything.

I remember seeing your face for the first time. I thought it was a nice face. Good hair, good smile. You were wearing bright colors and you hugged me, and I thought you were a little shorter than I expected, and your eyes were rather too close together, and your nostrils were strangely pinched, but overall, it was a good face. It was a face I didn't mind looking at.

And then I fell in love with you and that face became so beautiful to me. I stared at it in wonder. I traced the lines and imperfections and I thought myself so lucky to have them. You didn't like when I touched your face too much, but how could I help myself? Everything about it was so incredible because it was yours and you were mine and you let me touch your face even though you didn't like it.

Now I see your photo and it is the face of a stranger. It is a pleasant face. It's a concerning face. It worries me, how deceptive that white smile can be. Those close-set eyes and tight nostrils became a metaphor, a symbol. You keep everything close and tight. Your very body is built to hide things from others.

My throat is scratchy today from talking across the water. I am a quiet person but to speak of you made me loud. To let the words come out and have the wind whip them away, they are gone now. I've said the words over and over in my own head, but to speak them aloud, that has freed them. I will never be able to find the right words to fully express how deeply you betrayed me, but I no longer feel I must. I spent so much time picking and choosing what I will say to you when you come back, I lost sight of what matters. That you won't dare come back. That I couldn't have you if you did.

I understand now the concept of burning bridges. You tried to keep the fires low, keep yourself an exit back to us, but you're a selfish man and now they're just smoke and ash.

To speak of you aloud is to hear how cruel you were to me.

Yes, cruel. You are a cruel man. You are a selfish, grasping individual.

You hated how I made you feel because that is who you truly are. You were so angry that I made you feel mean, but you are a mean, small man. You were cruel to me. You played with my mind and you made me feel small and nervous and crazy.

I am an island, I am a volcano, I am a wild creature. I scared you. I overwhelmed you. You admired me and you wanted to own me and you, in your smallness, misunderstood what that means.

You cannot tame a wild creature by being cruel to it. You only make her more wild. The more tightly you wound me around your fist the more wild I became, and now I must pull apart my strings and undo the damage you inflicted.

I can no longer be the animal biting her own tail and tearing out her hair. I have been freed of my cage.

I will wander alone or in my pack, until someone reaches out to me. Until someone kneels and holds their hand still and speaks to me gently.

I am sad, that I let you make me into this, but I feel my strength coming in through my marrow, and I sense the needles of my compass swinging back into place. I move forward, forward. I am not afraid, like you. I am not unsure, like you. I am not weak, like you. I let you convince me I was, for a time, but that did not change me. Now I look down at you from the burning bridge in contempt, and I walk on through the flames.

What you will be no longer matters, because you chose to be cruel. Who you are no longer matters, because you hid behind lies. Who you love no longer matters, because you will only seek to crush them to your will until they snap and lash out and leave you and I feel sad for them, but they make their choices too. I made mine.

I let myself be stupid because I had never been stupid before, and I fucking hated it. I made the wrong choice, loving you. Being stupid was not fun, it was destructive. You and your pinched face and your false words and false smile are a pleasant grinning force that swept through me and tore me into pieces, but I have been a million million pieces before, and I always rebuild.

You will keep sweeping through, seeking, never stopping your damage, but I stay still and I rebuild and I know now I am safe from you, I am free of the pain you inflicted and the ruin you left, and I am free of the anxious small angry person you made me.

It is my curse to carry these words within me, when I so wish I could express them to you, but I know it does not matter. You would not hear them anyway, and now the wind and the water have carried them away, and I cried but it felt good to cry, poison bleeding from me, and the words are gone and you are gone and thank fucking god my nightmare is over.

Friday, September 15, 2017

9-15 The Insomniac's Curse

i wrote you a poem last night
as i fell asleep
it was warm and soft in my head
like new bread
like fresh beginnings
like moving on
and it said all the things i was feeling
and thinking
it put words to
the damage
the love
the shame
the shock
the anger
it was words
even you, in your denial
would have understood
and you would have felt shame
and anger and love
and damage
even you, in your selfishness
would have been touched
i was touched
i was transformed
but i fell asleep
or maybe i was already dreaming
and the words are gone
they will never move you.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

9-14 The Frustrated Empath

He's telling me a story. He's a good story teller. I admire people who can find words in their mouths. Mine stick in my hands and my head, beating like moths against my skull and fluttering in my fingers. I enjoy listening to him, even though it's a sad story. He tells it well.

Even without the words I would know it's a sad story. He wears it on him. His body changes, his eyes focus elsewhere, on remembering, on finding the words. He pulls them from his past and he gives them to me, forming images. I am there with him in this memory. His dejection creeps through the air and I feel it seeping into me. He has felt sadness and loss--he feels it now again, and as he feels it, I feel it too.

It's so clean and clear. So easy to understand and interpret. The air shimmers with particles of his emotions, and they touch my pores, becoming my own. There is a sense of comfort for me, even through this sad story, that I can connect to him on this level. Gratitude.

For so long Dorian altered my radar. His words did not match the feeling in the air. His face did not match his stories. I have loved who I am, this person who senses what others feel because it becomes me, too. To feel one thing to be told another, to see an expression that does not match the sharp edge on my skin that he is sending me, it confused me. Sonar blocked. My internal guide distressed and uncertain.

He is telling me a sad story; he is sad, I am sad. Simple. I can't get enough of it, this honesty. My analytical mind wants to poke and pry, to uncover more emotions so I can feel them with him, so I can understand him entirely, but it is late and I am tired and I am making him sad with my poking and he is making me sad with his sadness so I calm my roving questions and I just appreciate what I am being given. Truth.

My boss has wide wet eyes that are always looking into mine, and he asks me why I'm agitated, what's been going on. I cannot hide my truths. I alter the air around me with the darkness I've carried in recently and I cannot shroud it, so I take it with me. I try to keep it away from others. I do not want it to leak into them. But he has sensed it anyway, and now it leaks out my eyes, mortifying me. I cry without purpose, face still and I look away until the horrifying honesty of tears has slowed.

I glimpse honesty all around me and I marvel that Dorian was so false. How can a person look another in the eye and lie? I felt the lies all around me, I was covered in razor blades and suspicion, but I let his words overwhelm what I knew was true. It is incomprehensible. He looked me in my leaking eyes and he lied, he told me the sensations cutting my skin were my own, my own fault, my own imagining.

My skin feels soft and whole again without him destroying me, the scabs are healing over in smooth white scars.

I see the truth in people's faces, their bodies match their words. The air they carry around them moves in rhythm to what they say, and I want to weep with gratitude.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

9-13

Something clicked within today.

I walk the night trails, the crushed gravel glowing and soft like I have forgotten my glasses. Only the water is sharp as I pause to look down into it. It reflect the world above, duplicates, confuses. Against the sky the mundane have their chance to be noticed--telephone wires no longer in competition with clouds and sun look poignantly black against their backdrop.

This morning I admired the sunrise, without him in my head. He stole too much of me. A feeble comparison. Why did I waste so much of myself admiring him and losing this beauty?

I have felt her, Myself, hovering, coming closer, and tonight she clicks back into place. Somehow my bones feel sweet and hard like brown sugar left too long in the air. My body is decadent and sticky in the night. I glance down with my night-cat sight and see my two legs, white, and note that I am not eating enough. I miss my thickness and my strength. It is like waking up from a long sleep. I look down and realize I have been hurting.

Against the sky, vivid leaves. I am a million layers. I am every other life I've lived, one cycle after another. I am my past and my future. I am my choices and my heart. My sugar bones move within me, crusted and sharp on the outside, and I feel myself building a new life, new layers.

Those who want to be whole, how small they think. He wanted to be whole. He seeks himself in others, in everything. He will always be unhappy, seeking himself, searching to patch holes, because we are everything. We are a hundred million pieces, we are a swarming biosphere of incalculable moments.

Why is that so frightening to some?

Why be a droplet when you can be a pond, a lake, an ever-moving river?

Why be a cell when you can be a hot vibrant living being?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

9-12

The little body is already cold and stiff, formed into the shape of a tufted stuffed animal bed. She holds her position as I lift her, and though her face is stretched strangely in death, her pose, curled and languid, speaks of comfort. I hope she was peaceful as she died; not the gasping, fighting death from earlier. I resisted that death, and I wonder if it was cruel of me to struggle to keep her. In the end, she seemed more pained, her thin delicate chin elongated somehow in that face of inevitability, than perhaps she would have if I had simply let her go.

I wrap her in a towel, gently, carefully but she is no longer there. She does not care how I wrap her; she has left her small fragile body. I do not know when or how, and I feel excluded from something important. Slighted.

I am growing distant and cold as the dead kitten, I feel nothing either. Nothing but surprise, as if she had fled and left the back door open rather than died. She is gone, she left, and this artificial soft cold thing in my hands was discarded behind her.

I go through the catalog in my mind, paging through. Filing her under failure, glancing at successes as a reminder. A strange sense of disappointment in her and her sister, dead creatures. Why did they not tell me they were ailing? One lies gasping, more than gone, on the floor, and I fight for her. I have done all I can, I tell myself when she fades and her eyes go still.

This one, I resent her peaceful death. I cannot soothe myself. She did not give me the opportunity to find my own peace. I was abandoned. I was not consulted.

It is a cold week for me, and I have withdrawn. I shut myself down. Quarantine. My mind needs to rest. My body needs to rest or I will become cold, cold, again. Bar the doors and close the windows. I shutter my frantic thoughts in darkness and they settle slowly like sleepy birds, quieting and rustling but never still.

Around me, death in the night, and life, and things move forward, and I carry on with my sadness and my heartache and my joys and my anger and the world spins onward without any care toward the burdens I nurture, so I snap the cords and I let them fly into the ether.