It steps into view. A beam of blinding shocking white cuts into it. It is startled for a short second before... it becomes mesmerized, astonished by what it sees. It steps closer, and closer, and— much too close now. But, still, it is captivated. It looks at a blank mirror face, an expression it is all too familiar with. Clear. Plain. Marked. It grimaces. I don't look like myself— Don't lie. You don't feel pretty anymore.
I've been abandoned twice. Wait, maybe four times. No, is it five? Who's counting anymore? By you. You who is cold to the touch, dismissive of any warmth in your heart. You must shiver at night living in a frozen snow globe, feigning a genuine smile. I should know better than to feel something for you but I always do. In some twisted, wicked sense of humor it's always so that I can keep you by my side. That's where you belong, and my throat is choking up. But you don't want to be there. Years later, I'm still trying. I'm so sure I can make you remember that you love me. Don't you want to remember?
I am wearing bright golden yellow today because I hope it will secure the airy lightness I felt yesterday. (This is the first time I’m wearing this romper so I hope I won’t be too flashy.) I am the definition of productivity. I tentatively ask my roommate if she wants to come with me since I have some errands I need to do, but she declines and says she has a lot of things she needs to get done before she goes to work. (She’s just not interested in your company, okay.)
So I go grocery shopping by myself and at the end of the spree, I allow one small exception from my shopping list—a bunch of almost ripe bananas. (Look at you, you’re already deviating from the plan.) They’re yellow just like my outfit so it must be another sign to continue this new, refreshed “me” that I am feeling. When I come up to the cash register, the cashier is warm and welcoming (maybe being nice is just part of the job description) while she rings up my items—two bags of two varieties of bagels, cream cheese, soy milk, eggs, bananas. She pays me a compliment, politely chirping about how this shade of yellow looks good with my skin and when I tell her I was shy about wearing it today, she playfully adds that it’s finally the romper’s debut into the world. I feel absolutely stunning now, pulsing like the sunshine that radiates down on me as I head out of the store. I am the definition of confidence.
I come home and unpack my purchases into their appropriate places—most end up in the fridge which requires utilizing the art of storing and packing to get the most out of the small space that is in front of me. (You bought too much. You must be eating more than you need.) I am the definition of efficiency. My roommate is still at home but this time she is folding up her bed frame and putting it away to make more room in the living space. (She just didn’t want to come with you, that’s why.)
‘Oh, you already finished grocery shopping?’
Yeah, I plan out my trips. I go from point A to point B to point C so I finish quickly.
‘…I could’ve come along then.’
(She’s really just trying to cover up that she didn’t want to go with you.)
I smile but I don’t say anything. (They’re all excuses anyways.) I sit down on the couch and we both watch episodes of How I Met Your Mother, something that she’s been trying to watch chronologically. I’ve already seen them all on my own but I don’t mind the replays. I absentmindedly glance at my phone to check for notifications and I see two from him. I am the definition of happiness. I reply back to him and follow up with a question when I find out he’s been up long before me, which is unusual in the first place. (What has he been doing?) He doesn’t answer my question and asks me another. (Why is he ignoring my question? Is he hiding something from me? What have I done now?)
And just like that, I am the definition of Bo.
When I write, it is usually an attempt to cleanse my soul in some far-fetched way. I take up a pencil—pen is much too permanent for my taste and I’ve never had that comfort—and then I put it to the lined paper of my journal, the one that I have slowly been trying to fill out since my years in high school. For all that I lack, my words compensate and channel some sort of energy out of me as a way of coping. I don’t really know what I’m coping from exactly but it sure seems like the pang of aching loneliness and the creeping feeling of abandonment. Everyone seems to be a fatherless child now in “these modern days” so I’m clearly not that special. But no one can truly ever know how I feel because there’s absolutely no way we can all feel each other’s emotions exactly as the other felt it. Maybe writers—or manipulators of any art—are damned souls in that sense, stumbling to put a word to how we feel because we’re constantly feeling it. Maybe we were meant to be blind to our realities because if we actually knew what was happening, we would die from heartbreak.
I’m frightened all of the time. I’m terrified of being abandoned, of being lonely, of change, of confrontational emotions. I’m always wondering if this is it, if I’m always going to attract the negativity, and the pain, and the suffering that I see all the time. Everything and everyone is burdened by the thought of me. I constantly sob all night long and I always desperately reach out to those I love in the hopes that they will console me. But I see that look in their eyes. It’s burned into my mind. They’re disgusted, put off, annoyed, done. I ask too much of them and then I lash out defensively so they won’t know how much pain they’ve caused me, to myself. And I hate the darkness because it’s usually accompanied by cold silence. What do I do then, being in the dark and feeling numb? Maybe that’s why my eyes are shock white, clear as milk and thin like oil. I’ve been thrown away and ignored that I’ve grown used to the neglect, so I reluctantly seek out the darkness that is found within my heart. Does that make sense? It’s my fault, really. I deserve that restlessness, that turmoil of always wondering whether or not this will last. Somewhere, somehow I did something in my past that led me to this point of self-loathing…right?
NOTE: So, Bo has been around for a while now; I would know because I’ve had to deal with him. I’ve just never had the courage to let him out into the world. His name (meaning “to live”) is not a sick, twisted joke at his endless inner turmoil, but rather the potential he has for healing. But it’s also not just “potential” either: he and I are working together to figure our shit out. Many thanks to Mindfump’s #PersonifyMe challenge which helped bring him out into the real world, where good things do happen.
You know that sensation you get when you’re feeling disconnected, neglected, and lonely? Yeah, that one. A defiance, to all of it. I am here and you are not yet it seems like only I feel this negativity in myself. It threatens to consume me until I am nothing but a void. It ebbs and pushes like the annoying rhythmic pattern of waves, ceaselessly crashing and crashing and crashing onto the shore that is my heart. It pulls on me so much that I actually start to push back at it, snarling at it to try again if it dares. Because I am disconnected, neglected, and lonely, I maniacally laugh at its continuous pounding into my heart. I am becoming defensive now, casting out my own line of provocation, but simultaneously and ironically fighting it all the while. You’re ignoring me now, aren’t you? (He really isn’t.) Well, I can too.
He doesn’t think my problems are rooted in my anxiety, insecurities, fears, and anger. He doesn’t want to be the one to comfort me anymore because it’ll only make me bad again. He doesn’t know what to say when I feel like the whole world is against me. He doesn’t touch me when I think I am disgusting and ugly. He doesn’t believe that I will ever hurt myself. He doesn’t like it when I’m unhappy and he wants me to smile more. He withdraws into himself when I try to reach out (I don’t want to perpetuate this cycle) so then I cry more because he was the one I thought I could count on to hold me when I was already feeling like shit. So now I must be wrong. I must not be allowed to feel this way. My problems don’t mean anything. They shouldn’t reach into the depths of me. Because, as he said, it’s all just surface level.