rambling

I don’t think this is how stars work…

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One of my very good friends, John, has made it a habit to check up on me from time to time. “Hey, you okay?” he messages at random hours, on random days.

Unless things are really bad, I usually tell him I’m fine, not to worry, because to be honest, I am either sunflower or stormcloud. There is no in between, at least for now, so “okay” can mean either of the two, because either of the two is “normal.”

I catastrophize a lot. It means I tend to think of the worst case scenario and blow it out of proportion. My friend Esther once told me that I like being miserable. I recoiled from that statement then, but now, older and maybe a bit more self-aware, I realize that miserable–maybe that’s too strong a word; we’ll go with melancholy–is almost comforting in its familiarity. Over the past few years, I have learned to understand being sad better than being happy.

I don’t trust what isn’t familiar. It often slips away just as I get used to it. Maybe that’s why melancholy, in a weird way, is “okay” to me: it’s somewhat consistent, predictable, reliable in a twisted way, else why would my Facebook memories show me that one year ago today, two years ago today, I was posting sad posts?

(I think this time of year, lots of people tend to get sad?)

But back to John. The last time he messaged, asking me if I was okay, I did the usual thing I always do: deflected. I told him I was managing, that I was stressed but it was nothing serious. I told him not to worry, because I don’t like people worrying.

“I’ll always worry.” He messaged back. There was a smiling emoji, which in internet-speak I think means the fact didn’t bother him. And for a moment–or, okay, longer than a moment, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this–it felt good to know that there were people out there who weren’t bothered by the fact that they worried about me from time to time. Because, and maybe I’m extrapolating a bit too far here, it means that I’m worth worrying about.

I’m really thankful for the people who think I’m worth worrying about. I still don’t like it when they worry, though, so I’m working hard on–because, guys, it really is work; life requires effort–being okay, really. Okay isn’t good. It isn’t even fine.

It’s just: I’ll get through this day. I won’t fall apart. You don’t have to worry.

But I’m thankful that you do.

 

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[rambles] Turning

Not to me.
Not to me.
Not for me.

– 
Éponine, Les Misérables

~*~

Your skin burns.  It is morning.

Lately you’ve been learning not to listen to your instincts.  Instinct.  Such an animal word.  You aren’t an animal, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Your eyes glow darkly and your smile is feral and sometimes, sometimes (often) your body sings with wanting but your fine leash of control has worked against all temptation.  So far.

So far.

Today, temptation is a story.  You have a story.

You have a story. It itches to pour out of your fingers, bubbles like soda pop behind lips that want to smile and laugh and tease.  It is a small story.  A funny story.  A story that would do no harm, except the first person you think to tell—want to tell; could tell–is someone you promised to stay away from.

Someone you should stay away from.

So far, control is winning.  Later, you promise yourself.  Later.  When the infection burns out the last of your blood. When you heart learns to stop beating.  When you don’t feel the instinct (that word again) to turn up your lips, reveal teeth better suited to things other than smiling.

When you aren’t quite so blindsided by the way they make you laugh.

Your fingers hover, still longing to make contact, dancing over the letters that spell out a name.  But the urge passes, as it always does.  Your willpower wins again, and by now you’re used to how it never really feels like winning.

Once upon a time you made a choice, or maybe it was made for you.  Once upon a time, you taught yourself to live without sunlight.  You don’t need it, not anymore—the years have taught you to see just as well in the dark—but sometimes you long to stretch your hand out and hold the yellow glow in your palms, pretend it would warm instead of burn.

You think they might be sunlight.  You think you might burn.  Moth to flame, delicate and easily consumed.

Later, you promise yourself.  Later.  When they don’t seem to shine quite so bright.  When your eyes adjust.  When the tides completely turn.

Later, you promise.

Never, you know.

~aRT~

[ramble, GoTxHamilton] Wait For It

My back hurts.

I never feel the knives going in. Instead, I wake up and find a brand new wound, joining what I feel must be dozens–going in deep, twisting, bleeding out despite my best efforts to hold everything together.

By now, it’s old news: the knives, the sting, the unknown-but-known assailants. And me: the girl who refuses to die. Refuses to fall apart. By now, even I don’t know why I keep going. But I do, because hope is the last bit of defiance I have left.

Each knife is one less reason to stay, but somehow isn’t enough reason to leave.

I tell my friends I envy Jon Snow, the bravery it takes to whisper “Now my watch is ended.” I have died and returned and died and returned so many times, and each time I feel something must get lost. But if something does, the pain of living drowns out the pain of losing. I stumble through my days, plastering the mask of calm on my face, pretending not to recognize the fingerprints on the handles of the blades.

The mercenaries among those I hold dear tell me–unapologetically, with a blissful pride I can almost find it in myself to envy–that stab-wounds are badges of honor for those on their way upward, forgetting (of course) that not everyone aims to climb. I only ever envisioned a life of service, of devotion to a leader or leaders whose visions burned bright in my eyes. I am a girl built for adoration, a kingmaker instead of one who rules. I pledge my service. I take my oaths.

I shall wear no crowns and win no glory…

I never wanted to stand atop anything. I do not stand atop anything. Instead, I take a breath and continue to climb this neverending series of days, struggling through the pain and the blur of tears I have taught myself not to shed, because salt causes the wounds to burn, even as they close.

Each scar is one less reason to hang on, but somehow is not enough of a reason to let go.

I know I am not the only one. There are other knives, other backs, other bleeding wounds and half-knit scars on other endless uphill climbs. My mother was one, as was her mother, as are so many others who came before and will come after. We are a battered, broken brotherhood with no banners and barely any blood left…but we refuse to die, because hope is our last defiance. Is my last defiance. Life, with its weapons, does not discriminate: it takes and it takes and it takes. But we keep living anyway.

…I shall live and die at my post.

Through the blood, salt, cold, I whisper: If there’s a reason I’m still alive, when so many want me to die…

I’m willing to wait for it.

~aRT~