I’ve reached the edge again. I wanted to write about cliffs and taking flights and all the things that I’ve always solace into, but it feels empty. Empty the way most things have lately. I fantasize about burning my life down until nothing and nobody remains. But I have no guts and I haven’t met a desire strong enough in the past few weeks (months?) to move me. I watch my bridges decay instead of igniting them.
I’ve reached the edge again and I’m running for my life this time.
Stayed up all night to tend to my responsibilities. Did none of it.
I’m getting sick of myself for being this way, it’s been weeks now, but I can’t seem to shake this feeling off. I keep feeling like I’m on an entirely different planet, like I’m just completely drifting away. I’m distancing myself from reality too much, but it’s like I can’t stop.
I just realized I write about my best friend quite a lot.
I’ve always had the hardest time writing about people I love in a positive light. I can write about unrequited romances and broken friendships, but I could never write about interactions that didn’t feel like sinking ships. I always cowered from writing about happiness, from writing about the simplicity of two people who are happy to know each other. It, the way our friendship has many times before, scared the shit out of me. I don’t know why I see vulnerability in writing happiness, but I always have. But one day, things changed. I needed to write about gratefulness, and I needed to write about joy, and I needed to write about him before it was too late. I like writing about him in present tense. It is the best departure from the melancholy-ridden stories I write about the friends I’ve had before him. What past? What friends? I like this better.
I like this better, because every single thing I write is a letter of gratitude, a thank-you to him and the universe and all the forces I can’t bring myself to discredit nor believe in. Thank you for the boy who calls me pretty every time I see him, with the pride in his voice and nothing hidden underneath. Thank you for the boy who has seen me through my darkest hours. Thank you for the boy who showed me some of my favorite shows, and walks with me at night, and calls me names that make others cringe. This is the kid who worries about my nutrition and me turning twenty soon.
I’m hoping I’ll still get to drag this one to Walgreens twenty years down the road.
Tonight, I crack my mind open for you. I tell you about fear in a soft-spoken tone, in that low humming even voice that everybody always loves. The subject change comes like a comma slice. Noticed but forgiven. I feel indifferent in the way I hate most; this time I truly mean I could just go home, this time I really don’t know why I’m here. I’m still chasing last week’s happiness. You tell me I’m pretty every day now, and it sounds like a prayer, and it sounds like a blessing. My head is some place else, my heart is miles away, but thank God you’re here. You’re here.
I live in a state of slow, constant terror.
Last week, I was truly happy for the first time in months. It had been so long I did not recolonize or understand the feeling until it was almost gone. I wanted to hold it in my heart a little longer, but by the morning, I could not remember how it felt.
I am giving much more than I should.
I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m getting my strength from, but I’m hoping it will come.
All my days seem to be melting together.
I’ve fucked up a lot lately.
The only way out is through.
But the truth, the honest to God truth is that I only wake up to be left alone. And I only sleep to avoid myself. Of course, I’m tired. My whole life is running — running from me, running from others. My mind is worn out. I’m not sure who or where I am. I’ll slip into someone else’s skin for a while, because it feels like who I was about to become before things got so fucked up, and it feels like who I need to be right now.
Better? Worse? I’m not sure which one I’m closer to.
I hate summer, but I miss laughter. I miss the night sky tainted by city lights, miss the stars attempting to shine through. I don’t want sweat on my forehead, but I want my legs to glisten under the streetlights. I want the same green sneakers that I had last summer, because they made me brave, remember? This time with meaning, this time without the sadness on my face, this time without needing to be held on South T. Drive. If I don’t drop dead from the heat, I’ll come back laughing louder. I’ll come back unafraid, untainted by this winter. My skin is healing, my soul is healing, my world is healing. Summer, I hate you, but watch me soar. You wouldn’t believe how high I can go.
I’m bored of niceness.
Bored of raising my voice an octave when talking to strangers. Bored of submissiveness. Bored of flattening myself out. It was only meant to be a temporary identity, yeah? A skin to slip in every morning, a trick to get by. Something to hold high like banner while I dealt with transition, with feeling uninteresting and invisible, with being no one. It was a safety blanket. Not being a nice girl would have meant trying harder to find myself, would have meant wrestling with twelve different dormant identities. Being a nice girl brought none of that.
I’m bored of niceness though. So horribly bored. Kindness is one thing; being flat is another. An acquaintance I have in common with my best friend described me as a ‘sweet girl’. It was a year ago. But I still raised my voice a couple octaves yesterday all the same: at the register, at the museum, like a sweet nice girl. How long does it take to unlearn something you forced upon yourself? Ah, but how long did it take to convince myself I’d get my right to exist revoked, as a girl and a person, if I didn’t take the edge out of my voice, the snark out of my jokes, the passion out of my talks?
I didn’t want to be manly. I didn’t want to be boyish. I didn’t want to be noticed. But I didn’t want to be invisible either! I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I thought I had the way to get it. I didn’t! I didn’t and yet, I can’t shake it. How long, five years? A quarter of my life wasted on niceness.
Not incredible kindness, not extraordinary sense of caring, not an unusual radiance and sunny disposition. Just boring old niceness.
I could have tried to be anything and I settled for trying to be the most yawn-inducing one of them all. I chose to be a given. I chose to be what’s only mentionable when nothing else is worth mentioning.
So yeah, I’m over niceness. I was never all that nice to begin with.
Smile when a toddler attempts to clean your scars and woes with baby wipes. Smile at her naivety, smile at her goodness, smile at the fact that even a two-year old knows that you are not normal.
Smile at people who ask questions. Smile when they wonder if you fell, smile when they wonder if you were abused, smile when they ask if you’re contagious. Smile when you repeat yourself for the third time (ec-ze-mah) and smile when you give scientific explanations.
Smile when you wear reveal your body to a world convinced you should hide. Smile in shorts, smile in skirts, smile in dresses and in t-shirts. Smile, smile, smile when you wear your short graduation dress in front of people who just don’t know.
Smile when you are doing better and smile when you are doing so much much worse. Smile when you look like a freak, a monster. Smile when you explain to your mother why and how you cannot take this, you cannot do this, you do not want a part in this body of yours.
Just fucking smile, yeah? Smile until it looks like you’ve beaten the hatred of your body out of your brain cells, smile until people think you’re shatterproof, smile until nobody can pinpoint what’s wrong with you. Smile until you break again — even, bruised, tired.
Wash, rinse, repeat.