“Have you seen the new boy Toby yet?”
I looked at my sister across the lunch table. “No,” I said. I was lying, trying to get out of the conversation and leave lunch as fast as I could. I had seen the new boy. We had 1st period together, but I wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of asking me 20 questions.
“He’s so hot. I wonder if he has a girlfriend. Do you think he has one?” she asked as he walked by us.
I mentally rolled my eyes. My sister, Varissa was so boy-crazy that all the boys she knew/met she was interested in. “I don't know, Rissa. He is kind of cute, I guess. I mean, in a dumb jock way.”
She gave me a look. “You're not stealing my boyfriend,” she said sarcastically.
“He’s not your boyfriend, Rissa,” I pointed out.
“He will be my boyfriend.” she protested.
I made a noise. “Whatever you say. When you get your heart broken, I told you so.” She got up and went to class, leaving me behind at the table.
I stood up and tried to catch up to her, but the swarm of kids was too much, and I bumped into somebody and fell. Someone caught me before I hit the floor, and I looked up to thank my savior. It was the new boy.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
I nodded, trying to regain my balance.“What’s your name?” I ask him.
“Toby. What’s your name?” he asks, letting me go.
“That's a pretty name for a pretty girl,” he said. I rolled my eyes. “Do you wanna hang out?” he asked. I gave him a look that suggested he was going a little fast for my comfort, and he laughed. “I need help on my homework, Freya. When can you come over?” he asked.
“That’s sudden Toby. As long as you don't do anything stupid, and ALL we are doing is studying”
The bell rang, and I grabbed my stuff out of my locker, Toby beside me. “Maybe Saturday,” I said, and he gave me his number, not asking for mine. I went to my car, and Toby left, the conversation over. I got into my car and turned my music on and since Rissa went home with a friend, the sound of Jessie Murph filled the car, nothing like the music she listened to, which she made me listen to every time she rode with me. I started to sing along and pulled onto the highway.
When I got home, I opened the door, and my mom was asleep on the couch. I grabbed a blanket and threw it over her. I went to my room and started my homework.
Someone Facetimed me, from a number I didn't know.
“Hello?” I asked.
It was Toby. He grinned at me.
“I didn't give you my number Toby,” I said, annoyed.
“I know,” he said. “One of your friends gave it to me.”
I rolled my eyes, and he smirked.
“What do you want, Toby?” I asked.
“I want to be your friend.”
“Huh?” I asked. I was so confused, that I hung up, worried he was playing a prank on me.
He didn't text back right away. I was lying in my bed, watching TV. I had just taken a shower, and my hair was wet when he FaceTimed me, and I answered it.
“Did you just get out of the shower?” he asked when I answered.
“Um….yeah,” I said.
“Your hair is pretty when it’s wet,” he said. “Not to be weird, but it shimmers when it’s wet.”
“Thank you. Are you here to annoy me? If so, just call my sister. She likes you.”
“Well, I’m not. The whole point of me calling you is so you know I don't like your sister,” he said
“Why would I care?”
“Because you like me,” he said.
I rolled my eyes. “You annoy me, Toby.” I hung up.
He texted me seconds later.
Proves I'm right.
He didn’t text back.
The next day, he avoided me. Even though I hated what he said, I couldn't help but stare at him during the first period. Every once in a while, he would look at me and smile, then I wouldn't look for twenty minutes. But, I could feel his eyes on me. When the bell rang, I stayed away from him and ensured I didn't fall again. When I made it home, I had a new message from Toby.
Let's talk about yesterday.
What is there to talk about??
I just wanted to apologize for my behavior towards you the other day. It’s okay. I said some pretty rude stuff.
What I said was worse...I accused you of liking me. If you don't, that's fine.
I lay back in my bed thinking about him, when Rissa came into my room, crying.
“What’s wrong, Riss?” I asked as she threw herself onto my bed.
“Toby doesn't like me!!” she said, covering her head with my blanket. “He likes this other girl he’s been talking to!” she sobbed. “D-Do you kn-know wh-who it is?” she asked, looking at me with swollen eyes.
I shook my head and rubbed her shoulders. Toby could be talking to anyone, it doesn't have to be me, I thought to myself. My phone dinged. It was a message from Toby, of all people.
Where did you go???
I told your sister I didn't like her.
“Who is that?” she asked when I sighed and rolled my eyes.
“Nobody,” I said.
“Let me see,” she protested. She grabbed my phone and gasped when she saw the messages.
“Freya,” she said, looking at me in disbelief.
“It’s not what it looks like, Rissa. He started texting me first.”
“You knew I liked him, and you texted him anyway! I can't even trust my sister. You went behind my back and texted my crush, Freya.”
“I didn’t know he liked me okay!? I don’t want him to like me! I don't like him.”
“The blush on your cheeks and the fact you're trying to defend yourself proves you do, Freya. I am never talking to you again!” she ran out of my room, slamming the door. I texted Toby back as soon as the door to Varissa’s room closed with a snap.
Guess who’s mad at me because of YOU.
Well, she’s just jealous.
I didn't text him back. I couldn't stand to talk to anyone, I was so angry at myself, for falling for a guy I barely met, AND who was my sister’s crush, Toby, for being irresistible, and for making things worse between me and Riss and Rissa, for overreacting about this. It took me three days to text him back after that conversation, but before that, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He texted me before class ended three days later.
I apologize for any problems I caused between you and Rissa. It was not my intention. Please forgive my mistake. I will try my best to make things right and ensure this does not happen again.
I forgive you, I just don't understand who else you would like if not her.
Isn’t it obvious?
I like you, Freya.
Oh…….I can’t. It would make Rissa hate me even more.
Who cares? Will you go out with me?
Let me think about it.
Take all the time you need.
*** TWO WEEKS LATER
Are you ready?
I’ll be right out.
If you can probably guess…Toby and I are together. My sister still doesn't know, and we have been spending a lot of time together, “studying” as you would call it, under her very watchful eye.
She doesn't talk to me much anymore, and she cries more than ever. Her friends all give me bad looks when I walk by them. Toby tells me she will get over it eventually.
I walk out the door, and he whistles. “You realize we're just going to see my brother? You don't have to get all dressed up. You're pretty anyway.” I smiled. He opened the car door for me, and we drove to his brother’s house. His brother fist-bumped Toby and hugged me. I stepped back to give his brother a good look and tried to hide my blush, so Toby didn’t see it. I think his brother saw it, though, because he winked at me when Toby had his back to us, walking up the stairs. We made it into his living room, and Toby’s hand brushed mine. I looked at him and he smiled. “Freya, this is my brother Jonathan. Jonathan, this is Freya.”
I shook Jonathan’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
He nodded and shook it back. “You too.”
Jonathan offered us a seat on the couch. I took a seat on one side of him, and Toby took the other. Jonathan asked us what we wanted to watch on Netflix, and we all agreed on The Fault in Our Stars. We sat back to watch it, and when it was done, we sat and talked about anything we could think of, laughing at the funny bits. When I was breathless and red three hours later, Toby decided we should go. Jonathan hugged us both before we left, slipping something into my jacket pocket. I waited until I was locked in my room to open it. It was a note.
I wanted you to have my number, in case you needed it.
His number was underneath that. I programmed his number in and threw the note away. Toby called, and I answered it. We talked for a few hours, and he fell asleep. I stayed on the phone with him, until I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning with a text from Rissa.
Get down here now, there's someone here to see you.
I got up and rushed down the stairs. I heard voices in the living room, so I went there. Toby and my parents were sitting on the couches, along with Rissa. Toby stood up and grabbed my arm. “We need to talk, in private.” I nodded, and we went upstairs to my room, my parents giving me sympathetic looks, Rissa looking mad. I closed the door to my room, and he told me to sit down.
“I’m breaking up with you,” he said. I looked at him, surprised. “We’re not working. I don't feel the spark anymore, and I would rather you be happy than suffer.” I stared at him in shock. I shook my head in disbelief, and tears started running down my face.
“What do you mean, Toby?” I asked.
“I saw the way you looked at my brother yesterday, Freya. You never looked at me like that, and I realized that when I saw him look at you the same way. You love him. Maybe more than you ever loved me. But, it’s okay, because I’ve moved on. I want to be your friend though, and I think that we’ll be really good friends. Maybe better than when we were in a relationship. I still love you though, and I know enough about loving someone to let you go.”
He stood up and left, closing the door behind him. I cried for a few hours, and I didn’t come out of my room for a few days. I woke up Friday morning, grabbed my phone off my nightstand, and texted Jonathan.
I need your help.
Anything. What’s wrong?
How he knew who it was, I don't know.
I need to get out of the house. I need something to keep me from being sad. Your brother hurt me, and I need someone/something to pull me out into the light.
I understand. I’m here for you Freya.
I’m on my way, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.
I’ll be ready when you get here.
I got out of bed, changed my clothes, brushed my hair, got my keys, and got in my car. The drive to Jonathan’s house was shorter than expected, and he was waiting for me when I got out of the car. We went in, and it looked different from the last time I had seen it. It looked like he had taken everything off the walls. “I removed every picture that Toby was in…I didn’t want you to get upset. I want you to be comfortable here.”
I looked up into his eyes. “I didn't have anywhere else to go.” He nodded. I sat on the couch, he sat in a chair.
“What do you wanna do?” he asked.
“Can we just talk?” I asked.
“Of course. This relationship needs to be based on trust.” he looked at me, his eyes asking the question that his mouth didn’t.
“I’m not ready to be in a serious relationship, Jonathan. At least, not yet, not right now. Not after Toby. Toby hurt me, and that will take a while to get over. I wanted you to know that, before you got your hopes up, and then got disappointed. Maybe, let’s start slow. ” I looked at him, eyes burning. Tears started slipping down my cheeks, and he instantly reached up to wipe them away.
He forced me to look into his eyes. “Freya, look at me. I can wait as long as you need. I’m not going anywhere, at least, if you don't want me to.”
He moved to the couch beside me, and I moved closer to him. “I don't,” I said.
He sighed in relief. “Can I hold you?” he asked hesitantly.
I nodded, and he sighed again, wrapping his arms around me. I put my head on his chest, and we continued talking. I think I fell asleep like that, to the sound of his voice, his arms around me, the problem with Toby and my sister long forgotten.
I'd like... To be forgotten. No, that's not accurate. I'd like the person they see me as to be forgotten. I'd like to be given a funeral as who I am, not what they expect of me.
I already have a shaky idea of what it would look like if my family - my parents - were to bury me. They would gather relatives I never knew or cared about. Put me in a dress (I'd... Rather not) and maybe even jewellery. Maybe even do my hair in some way to make it seem I was a lovely Christian girl, the daughter of dreams.
I wouldn't say I'm rebellious. I spent a lot of my life trying to be perfect for them, actually. It's led to issues I'm working on but regardless, that was me. A version of me. Funny how even when things change so much, those little pieces and incorrect ways of thinking still stick around somewhere like an old piece of chewed gum.
So I do worry. That they'd give me a Christian funeral. Bring in a priest. Speak in Igbo as if I loved it. Talk about how I never got to have a husband or children as if that was a dream I had. About the people I could have been, the career paths I could have chosen, all of which would be their wants, not mine.
I've thought of this before. But briefly. Because back when I wanted to die that much, I suppose it hurt even though it wouldn't matter when I was dead, that the last time my body would be above the ground was going to be an elaborate, rich people party lie. Strangers apologising to my parents, praying for my soul. It reminds me of my eigth birthday party. Adults filling the sitting room. Me, my sister and a few of our friends to keep it down upstairs while they partied on our behalf.
But you're asking what I want. And... I don't know?
Well actually, I guess I do. I'd like to be in a suit. With my hair cut the way I like it. No earrings. Maybe even no shoes cos fuck em. Maybe some bathroom slippers. Remember me as I was in life. Except wearing a "man's outfit" cos I wanna be burned looking hot, I guess? I haven't worn a suit since I had to pretend to be a businessman during a secondary school presentation years ago. I think I'd like to some day when I feel brave enough. Why not the day I'm meant to go, as well?
I think I do want to be cremated. I don't see the point of burials... Personally. I understand wanting to return my body to the earth to be eaten and used for its nourishment. But burials of today mean giant slabs of wood and marble. As if people are meant to stay human-looking and alive forever. I know it seems like that's all we are but we never really were, were we? There's so much to a person beyond the things they've been taught by the world around them. Besides who they've grown to become.
Just... Burn me, man. Let me turn to ash. I think ash is a weird, beautiful concept. The way it moves and fades into the wind. I don't want to be dropped in a specific place. I just want to join the breeze. I want them to take me to different places, places that aren't choked up in noise and city-living... And just... Throw me into the air. Heck, they can travel to do it. A little bit of Paris, a little bit of Italia heh... Why not? My sister and brother should do it... I trust them most.
And then it would all be over. But I worry. That I would be buried the way the parents want me to. It's part of why I don't mind the thought of dying alone, in some strange country... Body never to be found by family. I don't want to go the way they bury their relatives. With the pretence and the keeping up grand appearances. I don't want someone to ask a child "why aren't you smiling more" at my funeral the way my aunt did to me at her mother's funeral, as if being around the guests/relatives/utter strangers meant I had to play a part. Be a puppet.
Acting is overrated. And yeah, it likely won't mean a thing to a dead person, whether there's an afterlife or not but I don't want to have my death the way people made me feel I had to be in life. Just throw me to the breeze, the sea, into the void of nothing that was always a part of me. Let me be sucked away, never to be again... Probably. No way to tell, really.
I always wanted to be a bird, a cloud, a piece of the wind... At least my broken-down body would get the experience of that for a moment. That alone would be enough.
Notes written in temporal braille—2333
A new Life form, root is the “human experience”
Calm effervescence kneels amongst energy shared
Colorful forces with no needs, and communal consciousness
What was is forgotten and born again are those suspended by time
Awareness hovers without pain or judgment: existing
Serene oneness and belonging without attachment is bright and fresh
Humanity in drag, painted petals and coriander flesh rising and falling with every breath
Consumption, ownership, authority are obsolete—
They never existed in the minds’ eye hung above for all to experience
There was a marriage between day and night, and begotten is the sun and moon
Peace, at last. They feel.
But without contrast, is it?
There was a time when I was kinder.
Regarded as wholesome even. Not cruel or twisted, cold or wicked, not a perfectionist or some freak artist with a corrupted dream—I know what they say. but I wasn't always this... warped. There was a time when my heart still rested on her canvas, atop a puff of a colourless pillow.
I used to draw for her: my heart.
I used to depict all the sights she'd been too bedridden to see. It started with a few ugly scratches from a pencil on torn paper, but the papers got bigger, the pages fuller, their numbers filling books, then shelves. After a while, pencils didn't cut it. Drawings couldn't capture the beauty of a sky or the shimmers of an ocean, and she wanted to explore it all. She was an adventurer at the core; an adventurer with a cough. And it was that which kept her in bed.
If nothing else, I used to fear their sound; breath leaving her lungs so forcefully, so destructively. My paintbrush used to leave the page to wait for them to pass, but they got so torrential I used to fear the air would not return. So my brush strokes grew fervent. I rushed to paint my point. Entire sketchbooks full of sights, creatures, magical items. I rushed for the chance to show her the world she could not trek on her own two feet. I'd resolved myself to show her everything I had the power to show.
"Would it kill you to smile?"
My paintbrush stopped.
"You make such beautiful paintings, yet it never looks like you have any fun making them," she whined.
I considered her for a moment, giving the usual lack of emotion. She sat there, in her blankets, hugging her pillow and staring expectantly at me.
I moved my brush to an empty patch of blue and continued to paint. After a moment I tucked the canvas between two fingers and flipped it around to show her.
She laughed. "That's not what I meant."
I'd drawn a smiley face for her, using the bend of sand dunes splashing higher than they normally would and two pebbles thrown by a dessert sylph. It looked ridiculous.
"This is your best one yet, Akris."
She said my name like a song, ignoring the S, rolling the R in the only way it was meant to be rolled.
I didn't say anything.
On the days she didn't harass me, she stared out the window solemnly, between naps and coughs and our games of show and tell.
When she slept, I left to capture new sights for her to see. When I returned I'd remake them, down to last detail on each overlooked pebble or leaf.
I'd watch her excitement each time. I'd watch her joy, her bitterness, her tears, her yearning for more.
"Never stop." She whispered to me one night, after her healer had finished his failings; his potions of emptied promises discarded in a bin.
And I never did.
I rushed through her paintings when she coughed and rushed even more when the coughs stopped. I rushed to show her the world, without realizing I could have kept her in mine. If I had only stopped to paint her. Just once. I could have kept her by my side with a single portrait. I could have painted what she looked like looking at my paintings. I could have kept my heart in an eternal capsule of time, upon a colourless canvas.
But I didn't.
And she died.
Just as everyone knew she would.
The day she left her bed, I brought all my tools into her room. All my paints and oils and pastels and water colours. I threw crayons into the mix, charcoals and pencils and for the first time in my life, I made art.
The final touch was a single canvas, resting atop her pillow. There was no colour upon it, for black was not a colour; it was a reminder. A reminder that darkness and death lurks behind every masterpiece, waiting to sink its teeth into every colour you've ever grown to love, every hue of emotion you've worked hard to put on a face. Upon this canvas was a black silhouette of the portrait I'd never drawn; her shadow, resting upon her pillow without her. Abyssal and uncoloured, just a crude black splotch on my past reminding me exactly where my heart could have rested had I eternalized it.
Behind the canvas, her pillow was painted. Her bed was coloured in to the brim. Her bedsheets covered in crayons Her window splashed with rainbows of oils. Her door carried the greys of lead. Her floorboards, and walls, and ceiling and chair. Her rug, her dresser, the inside of the drawers, her flasks and vials of lies from healers whose bloods I used for all the shades of red. Every knob, every screw, every crevice, every wick... I painted it to eternity.
Living proof of the life that could have lived if the world hadn't failed her. If I hadn't failed her.
When I finished, I left the room. Closed the door—
"Would it kill you to smile?"
...I considered her echo. Then took the paintbrush from my ear, stole a smudge of red from my cheek and drew a smile on the knob.
And smiled back at it.
I will never forgot the feeling of losing you. A storm brewed in my chest. I was motion sick with an aversion to sunlight. Rising each day felt like waking in shackles without a key. The empty pit of ruminating sadness haunted my gut like perpetual punches. I felt a hovering evil bleed my veins, taking my cognizant pace towards death slowly, painfully. My heart was heavy, weighed down with tears like blue jeans in the ocean. My soul was lost. I felt abandoned: a dead body discarded somewhere dark and desolate. My consciousness was caught in limbo, it wandered directionless through a burnt forest in the fog. My mouth stayed dry and taped shut, and my hands were bound. I was blind-folded and deaf. I lost all senses except those that were reminiscent of you. Grief-strung and desperate, I knelt in prayer over thorns in the dim light of a crescent moon.
Deep in my withdrawals, the fever turned cold and my stagnancy was awoke and intermittently interrupted by the loyalty of your ghost.
New Promo Video Released!
Tainted Sky's First Official Promo Vid! Check it out:
Tell your friends! Tell your nemesis...es! Tell the wooorrlldd!!!
In order to get this on your shelves, I need a following! So every like, every shared link, every bit of support helps like crazy!
New and Old fans of Tainted Sky; Rei’s Playlist
[Brand New Instagram page. Behold: https://www.instagram.com/taitaisensei/ ]
My friends—my motivation! My inspiration; and whoever else got caught in the compilation! I'd just like to say a super mega ultra: 'I'm sooorrrrrrry! >__<' it shouldn't have taken me this long to reach out to you again. I'm sure I've lost followers and fans but I am still and always will be eternally grateful to everyone who took the time to read Tainted Sky! To all the fans I didn't lose yet, THANK YOU FOR STANDING STRONG! I promise you I never stopped writing and editing and I am definitely a heck of a lot closer to getting this thing published and on our bookshelves than when you last heard from me!!! (I should invest in a proper bookshelf... *TaiSensei glances at her piles of books on the floor)
[To those who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a link to the original story: https://www.theprose.com/book/1219/tainted-sky-reis-playlist ]
The reason you haven't heard from me:
I've been writing like crazy, making music like crazy, learning how to navigate Kickstarter like crazy, learning how to make a trailer like crazy, and being crazy as usual. I basically went full hermit mode. Picture a ninja under a turtle's shell with a robe, a cup of tea, and a strong aversion to the sun.
I can guarantee you that the quality of the story you read years ago vs now are completely different. New content, new backstories, new jokes, new and improved vocabulary (wow so smart, TaiSensei >:D ), and hopefully, if things go as planned, then new updates!
I finally caved to the social norms and unlocked an Instagram page. Or at least I'm trying to. I don't know what the humans put on these sites these days so "Ima do my own thing." (*coughcough*Spiderverse reference*cough*). But I mainly want a consistent place where fans can see where I'm at.
The end goal: Kickstarter!
I will be igniting a Kickstarter campaign (or 2) in hopes of being able to provide a full soundtrack for you guys to enjoy alongside your wacky physical copy of Tainted Sky!
With that said, the soundtrack is looking like it might still be a little ways off but if all goes well. The campaign would ensure that the book itself will look much cooler than your average book, with some custom pages, musical symbols, and fun speech bubbles decorating the margins. But more on that with the Instagram updates.
However, none of this will be possible without support, so please, plzplzplz, spread the word! Even if you're not interested, share this, or better yet, share the story with someone who might be interested. Doesn't even have to be prosers, I'm going meta, so you should too! break the fourth wall and share it with friends/family/and those not tied to this dimension.
I will also be doing my best to make this little fanvillage of ours into a whole fandom and then into a FANDOMINATION! BWAHAHA!
Don't have Instagram:
Don't worry. I'm accumulating an email list so feel free to put your email here: https://artisanal-pioneer-5844.ck.page/8f212835bb
Alternatively, you may DM me through the prose with your email (or a list of emails +___+)
Either way you'll only be subjected to the major updates. I promise not to spam your inbox. I'm too anti-social for that anyway.
Zedge, on the other hand.... >:)
(no I'm kidding, I'll keep my characters under control)
Fun Bonus note:
Any and all fans who had given any of my trackters a like and/or a comment before this post will get a special discount (I kept track) so I really hope you all take advantage of that.
Email drop-off corner, here:
Mostly abandoned twitter attempt... is unfortunately here: https://twitter.com/TaijaSensei
The original (unedited) story here:
THANK YOU TO ALL MY READERS. THIS IS ALL FOR YOU!
‘Free Poetry’ Sponsored by ADHD
Maybe ADHD is just another escapist's dream, looking for distractions from this hell called reality. What's the next quickest thought out of here? A free ticket to get away from having to give a shit.
The real message in a bottle being:
((("Let me out!")))
This house of responsibilities is searing my soul. How can I feel so suffocated in a country supposedly free? What bullshit. Who'd even believe that? This Country Is A Marketer's Dream. Every Breath Uttered Gets Capitalized Against Your Will. slaves of society dancing to the song: "You forgot your Capital" by The Undertones. Choreographed not freestyled. Y'know, since it wasn't taught.
Can art be taught?
Not the 'free' part, but maybe the style. In a crippled fashion, strung up by salary, supported by crutches of cash. Pay up for your marionettist's money--your puppeteer's pity. They just might give it in grants. Though it comes with a cost.
About as Equal in pains as laboring over free poetry, when you really should be doing:
just about everything else.
Uh... Not sure if it’s a good idea to publish this... Nah, fuck it, why not?
Oop. Prose deleted the start of this. Damn. The audacity. Doesn't matter, tho, I'll give you the highlight of the paragraph I totally do not remember. Something awkward something something..
Anyway... Where to start. Not an easy question because what I'm gonna talk about is sort of specific? And sort of... Wrong? Oh, no, very wrong. Very, very wrong. I'd say I'm not a bad person... But I'm not exactly a good one either. Minimum level decent on the outside, I exist and I try not to hurt people and I try not to hurt myself these days, too.
I'm... Stalling. Okay, then. I wanted to talk about fear, at first. Because I am ashamed of how afraid I have been all my life. There's tons of stuff over the years of being a people pleaser... Not my fondest memories. But I guess the difference is that I'm not as ashamed of my fear because I do not hide it as much. Of course, I try to. But when it wants to come out of me, I don't often stop it. I don't pretend it doesn't exist so I feel less shitty about myself. It's always been there.
But I have layers. I'm still stalling. I'm still stalling. It's not a criminal thing, per say. I'd never do it. I'd never actually do it. In fact, if you knew me, you would never think I'd have that little thing anywhere in me. Except you'd seen me try to choke my sister when we were kids. Or that one time I threw something at my brother, hoping to cause as much damage as humanly possible.
I think the thing inside me that scares me... More than my fear of people and my fear of the future... I often fear myself. What I have dreamt of. It's a simple thing to talk about, really. I'm still stalling. I shouldn't have read the other post. But I did and it makes me feel... Worse? But you asked. And hey, since no one here knows me, since the worst that could happen is being further shamed, I guess I can try to talk about this thing that's lived in my head all my life.
I am not all softness. In truth, I don't know how much of that softness has been pushed to the front of me to prevent my otherness from popping up. Truthfully, I am also a violent creature. Warriors, soldiers, kings...
I've not only dreamt of my death.
I've dreamt of taking people with me? If that makes sense?
I don't want to make it poetic. I hardly want to explain it. I'm trying but it's hard because I've worked very hard to suppress this part over time. I pushed the violence into my fingertips sometimes, hurt myself to prevent the desire to do much worse to the person that wronged me. A desire only. A thought only. But one that gave me some relief when I was younger. Desire to cause harm.
I could tell you about the days I would imagine killing my schoolmates to pass the time in secondary school. I could tell you about that one time I "accidentally" murdered my Economics teacher in my mind, filled by a sudden anger I couldn't control over whatever stupid thing she said and being unable to look her in the eye since. I could tell you about throwing my father off a building in my head. Torturing this one girl in a silent vision. Even as I write this, I feel a peculiar kind of pain in my chest, telling me to seriously shut the fuck up. That thing in me has long been hidden. Talking about it is a general no-no.
I think it's my brain making up for how powerless I've felt all my life. Because I have. By my own hand, I deny myself the littlest decency. And something cracks a little more. So yes. When I watch shows like Hannibal or read a book like Native Son, that shit makes me feel something. When I witnessed Rhys Montrose on YOU, it felt like a bit of representation for my own thoughts. And I wondered and wondered and wondered...
I don't think I do want to kill anyone. I haven't got the patience or energy, I hardly give enough of a shit to get up in the morning. Murder is actually hard work. But I think the importance of my murder-loving side is to be a balance to that feeling. That I am nothing, that I am no one, that the world can walk over me a million times and I would smile and say thank you.
I recently wrote a seriously thorough murder fantasy-esque post on Prose about a certain roommate of mine, from the past. One that... Well, not to get into detail but she broke me even more. Amplified my discomfort around people with such tragic beauty. You see, after everything went down, I had to live with her for about a month. I had to have exams. I had to go to class and bathe like people do, I suppose. And I did. And I spent the entire time with her pretending that I felt nothing... But... Gratitude? I put a smile on my face and I let them do... Whatever they wanted because hey, fear.
Be afraid. You're supposed to be weak and meek and quiet and afraid; do that. Show that. You aren't allowed more than that.
I think deep down, I was scared to show my rage that day. It comes out in little bursts. I learnt, that day, that I would rather keep it caged than protect myself from actual genuine danger. That I would rather make the world an unsafe place for myself than risk letting that beast in me out. Risk showing that I, indeed, am capable of a violence beyond what I know. That I can hurt and I want to, sometimes. There is danger in my bones and I preferred to keep the mask of decent, good human than keep her from shattering me.
And it's been a year, now, since then. Thought I was over it and then I wrote that one post. It's funny how hidden I keep this feeling. It's funny how most of my self harm over the years was me needing a place to put the burning tar dripping down my stomach and not knowing where else to let it go. And it's stupid. And it's sad. And my vileness is a part of me that I am yet to accept.
I don't know if other people feel like this. I guess it's why I understood the Joker, in some way. Why I often relate to villains. I can understand that strange craving to let yourself go in such a dangerous, depraved way. It is such a small but important piece of me. I think if I listened to it and shook its hand, perhaps my violence and anger could be more than just a thing of shame. Perhaps they have better functions than sitting at the bottom of me like a quiet poison. But I don't really know what to... Do with it? Except... Keep it silent?
I wish I had lashed out that day. I should have. I've had multiple panic attacks since. I've spoken to family and had them... Well. Put it down as nothing much, let's leave it at that. I've done everything to brush it off, to make it nothing. And still, the anger remains, somewhere. Whenever I write about it, it still feels so foreign. I know it when I feel it but otherwise, it's so... Damn... Quiet. Safely shackled where it can't hurt anybody but me, I guess.
I was worried what would come next. Imagine. I had the power to save myself. I could have run away. I could have pushed her back. I could have screamed. Instead, I... Repressed. Instead, I went into a little corner of my mind and turned myself into that mask again, that ever-agreeable puppet robot with no feelings, only a "yes ma'am whatever you want can-do" fucking attitude. And I did it for someone who meant nothing to me. Because I worried about what my violence might do if it finally got to be free. If I finally let it drop from my fingertips and leak out of my skin through a more physical way than writing about it.
I began this silly little essay afraid of what people would think. I end it... Reminiscing. Feeling it. It's weird how I personify my emotions, sometimes. My fear likes to live in my chest, the most. Sometimes it enjoys spreading to my hands, just for the fun of having me shake. My need for solace is a pounding in my head when the rest of humanity gets too loud for me to exist among them, anymore.
My anger is deep in my stomach, somewhere. Forever lurking. If I hadn't taught myself that it was something to be ashamed of, I would have hurt her that day. I would've gotten ahead of myself and been lost to the feeling. I would have felt alive instead of being killed. I wouldn't have let myself be so fucking powerless. It's the most powerless I've ever felt. I was truly reduced to nothing. I'd always been scared of being so drowned in that feeling of utter worthlessness but my imagination never taught me what it would be like. Regret tells me I should have let it out. As does shame, the same fool that tells me keeping it in was probably the best choice.
I don't know what to believe. I don't know anymore if I should be ashamed of something that has spent its entire lifetime with me trying to make me feel better, as misguided as it... Usually is. I used to hate myself so much for existing. Hate it. In the tar, I tremble, I sink, I drown. And I love and hate the feeling a little too much.
I don't know what I've written or why I wrote so damn much and I guess I'm sorry but I guess I'm really not? It's itching at me again. I can feel it. That damn memory triggers so many of my emotions all at once, it's kind of incredible, really. Weak, dangerous, who cares? I'd rather turn my fists to my own chest than show anyone that thing. So it's fine. It'll die with me. But when it wants to rip out, if there's good reason, perhaps I'll let it next time. Self-preservation takes some head-bashing sometimes, I think.
Okay... That's all, folks. Judge me, relate, be confused... Feel as you wish. This was a lot more pouring than I expected. Don't know whether to be concerned or pleased that at least some of the black has been scooped up, splattered on "paper" far from the home it has carved for itself inside me. I am fucking exhausted, now. I feel delightfully ill from this level of oversharing, my forehead feels hot heh. Goodbye, stranger. I could pretend that this wasn't true, I could delete this before any random eyes descended and took a glance at this strange, usually buried piece of my soul.
Oh well. I am one self-revolved delusional fuck to think any of what I'm saying means anything at all to anyone other than me but
I am who I am.
And that won't ever go away. Don't even think I want us to, anymore.
We're stuck together till death do us part, me and myself. Might as well... Shrug and vibe with it, I guess.
Ps. Swearing is the best, sometimes. Je t'aime, merde.
I walked away
I had just exited the restroom when the clamoring voices of several young children filled my ears. There were four of them. They ran wildly, everywhere. I scanned the area, certainly a parent is nearby; surely they cannot be just unattended like this…
Then I saw her. She weakly reached out toward her rambunctious brood, mumbling softly and incoherently. In a tattered carrier strapped to her chest, a red-faced infant wailed. The woman had a haggard look about her and dark smudges beneath her eyes. Greasy hair kept falling in her face.
Then a forlorn, guttural noise escaped her mouth. She suddenly fell back against a nearby wall and slowly slid down to the floor. She began to weep loudly. Her sobs and howls joined along with the squalling infant on her chest. She and her baby became a symphony of human misery.
She was partially blocking the walkway. A few onlookers spoke harshly to her as they stepped over her legs:
“Don’t breed ‘em if you ain’t gonna take care of ’em!”
“Ever heard of birth control?”
“Oh, give me a break, lady…”
Fifteen-year-old me looked around.
Someone should help her…
I looked around awkwardly for an adult to offer aid. I found not one friendly face, only strangers’ expressions of shock and disgust or averted gazes.
I’m just a kid. I don’t know what to do.
Maybe she was a single mom… Maybe she was simply overwhelmed… Maybe she was suffering from postpartum depression. I will never know exactly what was happening with her that day. My point is, it doesn’t matter the circumstance. I had a chance to be a comfort and blessing to a stranger and I opted out.
This is where my shame lies: my inaction. Even if I was unsure what practical help I could offer, I could have (at the very least) sat there on the floor with her. I could have let a hurting person know they were not alone on a bad day. But I chose to turn and walk away, with an empty prayer on my lips that help may soon find her.
I could have been her help, her comfort, her answered prayer… but I walked away.
I will carry this shame with me always.