I got home that day and I cried. Cold water ran down my back out of a shower head that probably should’ve been replaced years ago. I couldn’t find the energy to take my clothes off. Polyester and denim stuck to my skin and all I could think was that I wished I could be empty again. Maybe if I let myself cry a little longer, I’d end up with nothing left to cry out. Nothing to be down about, nothing to get angry over, nothing to care about. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I didn’t want to feel anything.
Not everybody is beautiful. I’m tired of hearing that. But everybody has the ability to be. You are as beautiful as the things you do, the words you say, and the intentions of your heart. You are as beautiful as you let yourself become.
On our first date, I told you I was flighty. Impatient. Easily bored.
I don’t paint my nails because I can never sit still long enough
for even one coat to dry. I don’t fold my laundry because I hate the routine. I would rather buy new cutlery than wash my old ones.
Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I have no motivation. Maybe I’m just looking for somebody to grab my shoulders and give me a shake and explain what normal is and why I should do it. But sometimes I brush my teeth for seven minutes straight because it just feels right. Some nights
I put my pillow on the opposite end of the bed because I’m still hopeful that I’ll wake up differently if I sleep differently. I never do.
Sometimes I forget that I’m reading in the middle of flipping a page,
instead struck by the thought we would rather make paper than oxygen, would rather have one less life-source than one less novel. I wonder about priorities. I wonder about people who think it’s necessary to match their socks when they leave the house every morning as if that’s what determines their character. I wonder about people who carry around purses that contain nothing but gum. I wonder about people who spend all their hours at a desk and then return to their house to pass the night alone in a cold bed with a frozen dinner. I wonder if they think that money will make them happier than other humans. I don’t like kissing when I have lipstick on, because I’m afraid of leaving a stain on a cheek, as if I’m marking my territory somewhere I don’t belong, as if I’m trespassing on camera. I stay up for twenty hours a day and spend the other fours hours knowing that the longest a person can stay alive without sleep is ten days. I wonder if my nervous system has begun to break down, leaving me nervous and broken along with it. I don’t understand the pills the doctors prescribed me even though they told me I was just upset over being broken up with. I told them I wasn’t upset, I was morose. I was downtrodden. I was a leaky ship; still afloat but getting lower under the weight of the water every second. I didn’t want to sink. I wanted to sail. But they didn’t tell me that the happy little green and white pills would make me plateau. On our first date, I said I felt flat. Not the kind of flat of calm water on a windless day, but the kind of flat that you associate with deflated balloons. All out of air or out of breath or struggling to find any words left. I felt like the kind of flat that musicians hate. That I hate and I can’t play a single instrument. On our first date, I think I told you I would understand if you didn’t stay. Nobody did and I never blamed them. I was too busy wondering about people who believed in numbers and the healing power of yoga on 3 a.m mornings and tying their shoes without kneeling down to notice when they left. I am stuck inside of a world that I don’t quite understand, with people I never seem to connect with.
hello, i love you deeply and i am no good and you probably shouldn’t have met me.
i am a nosebleed that runs down your throat, i am your stained pillowcase from your open-mouthed crying that puts you to sleep. i am that third grade love note you keep in your pocket and i am every other word spelled wrong and i am asymmetrical hearts drawn out of the lines and i am that ringing housephone that you never pick up because you know that it’s never going to be for you. i am never going to be for you.
hello, i love you madly and i am bad news and you probably should try to avoid me. i think i saw you in my deck of cards when i was playing solitaire; a queen of hearts that fit nowhere. i shuffled you back in and put you in the game drawer and i’m sorry if you felt forgotten. i am that shirt at the back of your closet, misshapen and worn from years on the hanger. i am that giftcard you got from your estranged aunt to the store you never go to. i have value but god knows you don’t appreciate it.
hello, i love you terribly and i am going to explode if you so much as acknowledge my existence. you can tell yourself that i’m not what you want but that i will put out like two wet fingers on a lit match. you can lay in bed and close your eyes and pretend that you wouldn’t mind brushing my hair while i cry about the life i have chosen to live. i may not be the love you never knew but i am the mistake on the test you were too lazy to correct, thinking hell it’s not perfect but at least it’s got to be worth something.
when i tell you i am not okay, i don’t mean bad day, low marks, small fight, some tears. i am not okay in the way that my fingernails are more torn up than that love letter you wrote me last summer. i hum along to the song i know all of the words to because i am too afraid to open my mouth. the people i love have teeth as sharp as razors and i wonder if it is sad that the kind words that slip off their tongues and down to my calves began by piercing me in the neck to draw blood. the people who know too much of me often wash their hands. the people who wish to discover me hold their shovels so tightly they get blisters on their ring fingers. i don’t remember what day of the week it is or if i am supposed to be at church. i think i am a ball of flame before i even cross the threshold. when i am held i can’t tell the difference between a dream and reality and if i close my eyes it is both. i feed off other people’s warmth because i am that statistic online that says this generation has grown cold. i once read that laying flat on your back while you sleep stretches you out and you will stand up a whole two inches taller the next morning but i have found that i am always pushing my luck. since i have not left my bed in days i must have added at least a foot to my height. i could probably dust the top of my shelves. i am not okay in the way that holding hands never feels right, i am digging through my pockets looking for that feeling i have lost. i am not okay in the way that whenever i can feel my heart reaching towards somebody i snap its fingers between my teeth. i am not okay in the way that cement floors look comfortable. i am not okay in the way that my eyes swelling shut from crying is the same thing as closing them, telling me it is time to sleep. i am not okay in the way that i think i have always been and maybe for some of us that’s just going to have to be okay.