This is an excerpt from an unfinished project I’ve been working on for a while. It never seems right and I never manage to get past the beginning.
How do you find that thing inside you that’s supposed to be you when all you’ve ever known is other peoples’ insults and hands where they’re not supposed to be? When victimhood is no longer the clothes you wear, but the skin that binds your organs, how exactly are you supposed to know up from down, right from wrong, and self from reflection.
And haven’t I invested enough in this idea? In the pain, in the memories, in the struggle to breathe when all I’m doing is thinking. Haven’t I worn this skin as if I was born to it and gotten compliments on my glow? Haven’t I written love poems to it, set a place for it at my table, begged it to stay when it was sick of me?
I don’t know if I can live without it, because I don’t know if I will be anything without it. Anything other than a shell where trauma once lived.
I have lost my voice. I think I left it outside one day and it melted in the rain. I can’t find it, no matter how I retrace my steps and there’s no convenient “find your voice” app on my phone that I can set off to point me in the right direction.
Blogs I’ve written go unpublished because everytime I think about hitting that “publish” button I think about the comments and the people and the prying eyes that are determined to misunderstand every facet of me that I don’t even comprehend. Who wants to put a piece of themselves into the world for the most uncomfortable hatred?
I keep telling myself I shouldn’t care. But then I keep reminding myself that humans are social creatures and no one is such an island that criticism has no effect. But wouldn’t it be nice to share a blog and not only think of the abusive comments the world has to share about whatever innocuous thing I did?
What if I didn’t walk around holding these insults against my heart? Showing them to everyone, saying, “this is me, this is who I am.” Carrying them around for months as if they’re heirlooms and not the thoughtless rantings of someone who didn’t like what I thought about a book or a how I lost weight.
A man once threatened to beat and rape me on a dating website after I politely turned him down for a date and now I think saying no to any man is grounds for the same treatment. Before I wouldn’t have believed it, but now that it’s happened, there’s nothing to stop it from happening again. I just don’t know the time and place.
Anxiety used to be a niggling feeling I would experience here and there. Now it’s a person I open doors for and listen to as my favorite confidant. It has so many ideas about how I can run my life, I can’t seem to stop taking all of its advice like it’s just another person I allow to control me.
And it is controlling me.