Everything I never told you, but that I will now tell you because I have nowhere else to go.
It bothers me, how conveniently I forget the monstrosity of my past, how terrible things were. And now, how eager I am to displace, erase, and morph into a newness that seems only new to the ugliest part of me. The rest of me easily conforms, skips over the mechanics and trials that usually come with a new persona.
I feel like a cheat this way. I remember the throes of my girlhood, when I prayed to whatever would listen, when I preached warm words on the surface only to practice colder thoughts where it mattered, so I could stop fighting against what I had become. Most importantly, I had promised myself that I would never forget the pain. I would always tend to it like a baby; it would forever be mine not because I loved it, but because it had already seen so much of me--the real me--and only the worst kinds of people abandon their cruelest creations so quickly.
In retrospect, my future self was a threat to the person I was at the time; back then, I had sincerely believed that all parts of me--parts that were yet to exist, parts that had already existed--were bound by solidarity. Clearly the sentiment was unrequited, and now the dread hits me: if I couldn’t trust myself, the way I would act in the future, the person I would become in the next moment---who else could I trust?
It really bothers me, now. How willing I was to abandon the pain and move on. How do you even justify behaving selfishly against yourself?
I’m such a fake. In times of pain, I promised myself that I would remember everything, that remembering would single handedly save me and even save those who suffered from a similar pain.
All these empty promises. Since the moment I realized I could escape, I’ve barely glanced over my shoulder. I didn’t grow from my pain, I merely suffocated it until it was limp and had stopped breathing. Its dead carcass I had left behind was enough to convince me that it was gone---simple, easy, just like that. And no one had to be guilty. Even my pain was complicit in this act. It too, had exhausted itself and was ready to be crushed, play dead. However, something it had implicitly understood, which I had not at the time, was that it would never go away. Its abusiveness would never stagnate into a safe memory. It could never be regarded without threatening its observer.
Of course, I pretended that my pain had done all these things, and more. The farther I floated away from my experiences, the easier it became to present my pain to an audience; it is always easy, even farcical, to package and aestheticize pain in retrospect: God, I used to suffer so profoundly those nights, staying up, enclosing myself in that fist of darkness. Even uglier: Now that I think about it, the pain was somehow beautiful, wasn’t it? My God!
But then, I came home. It started with my face: it was scrubbed raw, my makeup (my equivalent of shield) had shed itself in sweat, and was sticky, soft to the touch. I had on my glasses. I felt wide, too wide. And worst of all, I was greeted by the quiet and with the quiet, the loudest encore of shame I had experienced in a while.
Look: I had run, and run, and run, yet...here I am again.
I thought I had finally lost this version of myself. But, no--she was always tethered to me, simply waiting to be unleashed in the right environment.
People can try and change, but places--physical locations--will always hold us accountable.
I walk into the entertainment room, I settle into the sofa and suddenly, I am 17 again. I am losing on all fronts and I don’t even know it.
First bruise: someone is mad at me. I have done nothing wrong, but I catch myself holding my breath, feeling the creak of footsteps against my skin, just hoping to erase some part of my presence. I am lonely, in this dark, lonely house and I know I cannot speak.
Second bruise: I am sexually frightened. Not frustrated, not confused. Frightened, but of no one other than myself. I know exactly what I want and I cannot hold myself back, not because I have no control--rather the opposite: I am in control and I want to test the limits of it. I am afraid that if I’m not reinforcing my boundaries every second, something will happen. A mistake. My sex will take over, and it is animal. It cannot be domesticated and it hardly cares for rules; it wants simply because it can. Logically, I know nothing will ever happen. But I am carrying this animal in me like a child, and it is kicking, biting, grinning and I must choke it until it turns blue. I’m tired. I desperately want to unlearn the instinct of sex and return to infant goodness.
And I know if I falter, the only escape is out the window.
Third bruise: I need bodies. Just next to me, moving, functioning, just happening; a mass of them so that I am suffocated by human essence. I don’t need to talk to anybody, I don’t even need to know any one of them. I just need people because without them, I suddenly seem to forget that I, myself, am enough as I am. I need people around me just to remind myself that I am capable without them, that I always have been.
But this house is the opposite of people. Once I am here, I begin to degrade until I am afraid of talking to anybody, perceiving anybody, even being perceived. A quarantine on me eventually becomes a quarantine thrown back at the world. And I cannot break out of it without another person’s help. But I am running out of people.
Fourth bruise: I come back here and I am lost potential. I only know that I am lost potential because my potential is still plausible, is still a possibility; I have someone injecting me into his dreams and ideals, but I know I will never amount to these.
This I know, but I nod anyway because he needs me; I am the oxygen that feeds the flames he has been trapped in. The only way to free him is through the smoke that will lift him away and drift far, far away from its point of origin. We are both burned and will continue to burn, but only I know it (and I hope that only I, forever, will know this).
Here, I thought I was free. I thought I was winning, that I had finally won. Forgive me for being stupid enough to even believe there was a game, that there was an implied chance of overcoming whatever past I was trying to drown.
I am and forever will be her! I will always find myself coming back up for air in the same circle!
So it goes.