you (ha ha ha)

I told them my story, sitting on the bed in the nearly empty furniture store:

"I had no idea. I just thought you'd come out of your shell!"

Whenever I tell people my story, it's always the same reaction. I guess there's some minimum amount of bravery involved in the way I can let my life crash and burn, again and again, as many times as I'm willing to move on from my last big mistake.

The truth is, I've made more mistakes than other people have been willing to make. I know this because I'm still struggling just to get back into a school most of my peers have already graduated from.

People have always told me I'm strong, or that I've been through more than they have. It sounds like praise, maybe even envy or self-pity for not having a life of perceived hardships and momentarily feeling like they don't have a right to complain.

The fact is, I'm not a strong person, or indestructible. I chased around happiness for a long time, all the way to the bottom of a prescription pill bottle before I was able to accept mistakes as they happen.

I've learned not to get too attached to a bad state of being, because if it can get much worse, it can also get better.


it's not just me, i tell you it's the both of us

If I am a master of anything, it is being a wildly, recklessly, hopeful person. I believe in a world better than the one I've seen, I've hoped for life to treat me better than it has. Even without any evidence to do so, I recklessly continue to fill myself with impossible hopes.

Maybe it's because I spend too much time in my own head. I swear to god, it's a better place than anywhere I've ever been. In my head, my friends are happy and I keep my last contact with each of them in my mind, tucking them away safely in my happy memories and keeping them at arm's length so reality can't reach them. In my own mind, every bad experience eventually washes away, memories become so sun-kissed as to bleach away all the darkness in my mind.

Perhaps this is the line between hopeful and delusional.


everything you exhale

I think I waited around for the pain to become dull before I felt ready to fill my cup again. It always takes me by surprise when the pain doesn't dull, when it simply twists itself around, comes back sharper and clearer and cuts through me as easily as it did the first time.

I didn't stop writing because I began to be happy. I didn't stop writing because I wanted to hide from my depression. I simply never wanted to begin telling a story I hoped would never end.


it's laughter and loving i disdain

I wake up in the dark and he reaches his hand out to me, half asleep. He doesn't know what this gesture means to me.

The antidepressants are on the bedroom floor, my belongings scattered between two cities.

This was all I had written.

I refrained from writing about you because it seemed like an awkward thing to have loom over us ("beware, kiddies, or she'll write about you on the internet").

I wore your shirt all day but the only things I could smell were hot, bitter and acrid.

After the fact, I couldn't make up my mind between booze or a cig. In the end I ran out of the house in the middle of the night, got in the car and shakily drove off into the black, Peter Silberman filling the emptiness.

After the fact, I expected more. The pain doesn't turn on until I'm confronted with the realness of you. Once a week for the better part of nearly a year, I'm more ambivalent towards your absence than I ever knew.



So listen,

It's been three years and I still find myself taking all the blame. I imagine this fact would make you happy, providing you the comfort of knowing that I cared enough to be hurt by you. In the end that was what it boiled down to, hurting me to prove that I still had a heart at all.

I may be bitter, but it still scares me when I can't find you. I hold my happiness in a book and you transform in front of my face, you take over my dream and I follow you, hostage to my guilt, bound by your anger towards me.

When he held me too tightly as I struggled to staunch my mental break down, I knew exactly where I had felt this before.

I sit at the bottom of a fish bowl.


we can't run, but we can go swimming

I think if you met me you probably wouldn't like me.

The truth is, if you met me, I wouldn't even try. It's been over a year since I honestly tried to have a conversation with another person, and I haven't made a new friend in I-don't-know-how-long. At a certain point it was just too tiring; at a certain point I didn't want to keep putting myself out there over and over again, letting strangers trace all my scars just to have an interesting story to tell secondhand to someone else ("oh I knew someone who...").

I rang in the new year with S.'s arm firmly around my shoulder, the surprising pop of champagne bottle's cork and the warmth of being at the exact place you want to be flooding my body despite the chill. That night I dreamt of being offered five choices, and as I made my decision I smiled in my sleep, assured as I was that I had made the right one.

"It's not a perfect plan / But it's the one we've got / Cause I make a living telling people what they want to hear / But I tell you, it's gonna be a champagne year" — "Champagne Year" by St. Vincent, Strange Mercy