It’s never easy for me
Eating properly, or even
to get my behind in the shower
It feels like this heavy anvil is
always weighing me down
Before I know it
the clocks already moved an hour ahead
It’s not that easy living this life
Sometimes I think of ending it
It’s not that easy when all you wake up to is
Misery and yelling
It’s not that easy when you’re crawling towards the end of the tunnel
It’s never been easy
It only gets harder and harder
It feels like the weight on my chest has sloughed off. That it has migrated to my thighs, wrapped around my wrist, clung to my jaw, settled between my legs.
I’ve felt heavy from lack of sleep before, but this is a whole new level. Seriously, did someone replace my bones with sticks of lead while I was sleeping?
I amble across the hallway’s fuzzy carpet, my foot steps sinking into fluff. I bang my head on the bathroom doorway, and pain inches through my skull. Hands on my head, I pull my gaze to the wall-sized mirror. I expect to see mascara smears under my eyes, frizzy ponytail, a greasy face.
Instead I see...
What the hell?
I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming, I must be dreaming.
Digging my nails into my skin, leaving sharp creases there, I will myself to wake up.
This has to be a figment of my imagination, a dark thought come to life. Reality can't be bent this way, can't be altered for no reason.
If the mirror is speaking the truth, I'm a boy.
My sugar, spice, and everything nice has been ripped from me, replaced with snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
My entire being suddenly feels foreign.
I look at the mirror, listen to the ugly, screeching tune that it's singing.
My coily hair has been sucked into my skull, my strands only taking a few lazy loops before being severed. My arms and legs look like they're filled with liquid, pushing against my skin. I have whispers of a mustache, a beard. When things used to be round, they are now square, curves morphed into sharp angles.
I stumble out of the bathroom, desparate to blink away what I've just seen. My footsteps on the stairs shake the whole house, down to its sparse wooden structure.
My mother is making a smoothie, her fingers attacking the wide, gray buttons on the blender's control panel. Blobs of kale are flung against the clear sides as the blades frantically rotate. The sound is agonizing, like there's gravel in there instead of leafy greens.
Like the blender, my throat is filled with gravel that isn't exactly there. "Um, Mom. I'm a boy."
Her attention is laser focused on making her breakfast. "That's nice."
"No, Mom. Really. Look at me."
She swivels her head. Looks calm. But the second she registers that I'm not joking, she lets out a scream.
"Oh my god. What happened? Are you okay? Does anything hurt?"
She fires question after question, none that I can answer. My mind is a weather machine. Flurries of snow, acid rain. Scorching winds, ashy clouds. I can't see, not my surroundings and certainly not my inner self.
She stops, her eyes tearing up. "I need to make some calls. Go lie down. Read a book or something. Relax."
Up the stairs again, threatning to splinter. I lay back on my mattress, my eyes drift to the ceiling, lime green painted over with white.
I've always thought of myself as a fighter, warring against the stage whispers of sexism. I had more weight to pull, but that made my success sweeter.
Now that I had been given the 'advantage', where did I stand?
That thought is too heavy. I'm too weak to deal with it. I need a distraction.
I find a half-finished and most likely overdue paperback from the library on the floor. I lose myself in it, attempting to forget that I've changed.
I'm only allowed to leave my room to go to the bathroom. Which is weird, and as much as I hate to admit it, much easier now.
Whenever my mother comes in to check on me, she gives me the same demand.
"Wait. Just wait."
The day crawls by, and so do four novels. Everything's dull, empty.
Twilight descends, night appears. My lids grow heavy with exhaustion. I slip away from the truth, anxious and grateful all at once.
The next morning, I wake up as light as a feather. Only two things remain heavy. My chest and my memory.
Wishing for Spoken Words
I wish I was a social butterfly. I wish I could strike a conversation with someone anytime I felt like it. I wish I didn't default to shy and reserved. I'm not even sure why I'm like this, but maybe if I knew, I could do something about it.
I wish I had a voice. I have a literal voice. I'm grateful to not be mute. When I say I wish I had a voice, I mean I wish I could say what I want to say, what needs to be said. I wish I could say the things on my mind and on my heart. Some of it should probably stay silent, but for the things that really need said, I wish there wasn't a big barrier.
I'm not even sure what the barrier is. I feel like it's me. Or maybe something deep inside of me. I mean, this had to have started somewhere, right? There's got to be a reason why I don't feel comfortable using my voice, right?
I wish I could figure it out. Part of it I could blame on the hearing loss. I don't know what other excuse I have except I've always been like this. My mind often blanks on things to say to people. What if they don't want to have a conversation with me? What if I annoy them? I'm so afraid I'll say the wrong thing.
Why is rejection still a problem for me?
I wish I didn't care what people thought of me or if they think I'm totally weird or stranger or crazy. I wish I had the right things to say to people when they're hurting. I feel like I know so many who are hurting and I don't have the right words to say and it hurts me. I want to see them healed, I want them to see that their lives have purpose and meaning and there is hope.
I wish I didn't crouch back into silence so quickly. I just listen. Then wish I had said something. People are hurting. Why do I sit in silence? I wish I didn't sit and stew in silence and I wish when I did talk, I talked about more meaningful things.
Just Let Go
A smile bit at the corners of her lips
a million thoughts flying through her mind
yet not a single one was about the essay
that her friends assumed she was worried about
No, she was thinking about the coolness of water
as it submerged her deeper into darkness
she was thinking about the roughness of a rope
that wrapped around her neck when she stepped off
she was thinking about the pop of pills
that would take her away from this world
because she didn’t mind the idea of dying
because anything was better than living in this nightmare
that people dared to believe was a dream come true
And she was thinking about the shiny little blade
that she ran across her wrists, just so that she could feel something
something real, just so that she could say she was still human
as little red beads of crimson dripped and shined from her skin like rubies
And she pulled her long sleeves further down
hiding the scars that shot across her arms like shooting stars
because they were something she was supposed to be ashamed about
and the thought of being called an attention-seeker killed her inside
because depression was just something everyone had
it was just a phase
So when she cried herself to shreds at night
choking on her own sobs
all she could think about was the word liar
Because her friends told her she was just lying, that it didn’t matter
they told her that the problems she had would pass
even though the weight in her chest never went away
and her thoughts became even darker than before
and she kept telling herself it will pass
she kept telling herself that she was making a big deal out of nothing
she kept telling herself that what she was feeling wasn’t valid
even as the screams of the little girl inside her
told her that these were only lies to keep her afloat
and each day kept dragging her farther and farther down
and she kept forcing herself to smile in front of a crowd of people
who never really cared about her at all
and this cycle kept going on and on
until finally she collapsed from the weight of the world
Because isn't it better to just let go?
and she asked herself this as the night wind whipped around her
as she stared at the crashing waves below
and thought about the freedom she'd feel with letting go
because it's not like anyone really needed her
she was just a waste of space
the wind wove its fingers through her hair
as she recalled the letters she addressed to her family sitting on her desk
everything was ready for her to leave
all she had to do was let go
and she did