one line wonder

A place to rant, rave, and ramble about anything and everything.

one dead one dying

“I don’t want to die, I just want to be skinny.”

 

That was what my sister said before she died of starvation last week. Self imposed starvation. Anorexia. It sounds stupid – can’t she see that her need to be skinny is causing her to die? Can’t she? I know she can because I have the same illness. And I can see it. I can also see the pain in my parent’s eyes as they turn their gaze from their dead daughter to their dying one. But logic doesn’t heal and neither does treatment.

 

It’s a disease that’s burrowed deep down and lodged itself in my skull. No soft words of advice or crying shrieks of pain can scratch it out. I try sometimes with my finger. I think, Maybe if this little bit of food comes out and that little bit of stomach goes in, maybe, maybe, I can live in peace. But it never works like that. As I said, logic doesn’t heal.

 

At my sister’s funeral, they spoke of her bravery, her fight. She didn’t fight, she starved. She was just like me and I am just like her and I don’t fight. When I look in the mirror and see FAT and hear FAT and scream FAT I don’t fight what I feel beneath my hands that whisper bones and plead bones and cry bones. Bravery is listening to logic. But logic doesn’t heal.

 

I’m going the same way that she went. I look down and see my toes and my ribs and my knobby knees. I’m wrapped in sweaters and blankets and I’m never warm. I know why I’m never warm. My intake of food is not enough to upkeep the survival of my body and my brain has other things to do like

 

keep my heart pumping

 

so it can’t waste its limited and valuable time on keeping a sick girl warm

 

it has to keep her alive

 

but only if she fed it a little more food she could

 

be warm and

 

she could dance and

 

wear dresses and

 

swim and

 

 

But logic doesn’t heal.

what do you think?

“What do you think?” The words mock me, dancing around the neon blue paper, taunting me with the question that is the hardest for me to answer. What do I think? About… anything.

It’s hard for me to access my truest feelings. My truest emotions. My truest thoughts. I’ve bleached them all. Sanitized them to reflect what they’ve been told to reflect. They sparkle and draw praise. But they fail to say anything new. Anything about me. About who I am. About what I think.

What do I think, it asks.

And I reply in white letters on white paper.

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Let it think what it wants to think.

fear//happiness

We are all afraid. We stand on the brink of our own happiness and yet we cower in fear. We are the master of our own fate. And most of the time we fuck it up. And for what? A weird look or an awkward second? Happiness is worth a million awkward seconds and a billion weird looks. It’s worth it all. 

the smiling girl.

To them, I am the girl who always smiles. From picture to picture, my eyes are crinkled and my head is thrown back in joy. Sometimes my faces are silly, my eyes are crossed, my expression is twisted into a goofy imitation.

 

You’re always smiling, they tell me. And I smile back, simply saying, I’m happy!

 

But I’m sitting on my bathroom floor with a toilet full of bile beside me. Happiness is an empty stomach. Joy is my finger down my throat. With it all out, all beside me, I have won.

 

I lay my head against the cool tile of the bathroom and I see my body snaking out in front of me. It’s thin and grey and sharp. It’s empty.

 

I’ve won, I remind myself, This is what winning feels like.

 

I prop myself up and clutch the side of my toilet to release the pizza that I had for lunch into the bowl. It joins my dinner and dessert and midday snacks.

 

I flail my left arm up and pull the lever. This lever will hide my secret from the world, erase the memories of my failure, and return with fresh water to house my breakfast tomorrow.

 

Getting up to my feet, I step on my scale and see the crisp number. 095.00. I smile.

it’s not serious

I’ve sworn again and again that’s it’s not serious. I laugh when people frown at my closely held knife. “What?” I’ll jokingly ask when people feign comfortability as I poke lightly at my wrist. But lines from before are etched there, unable to be erased from my memory. They are invisible to those who cannot see. To those who can, though, they tell a story that I refuse to tell. A story of heartbreak and cowardice and pain.

But most cannot see. And it is those to whom I flock. Because when I am there, I do not have to answer questions. I can be who I want to be. Maybe I am who I am not, but still… It is who I want to be. And truly, this is fear. This is lies. This is the opposite of truth.

Can truth exist in such a blurred world?

maybe i’m dead.

I look into the mirror and raise the blade to my throat. I cut. Blood spills out like it does in movies. But I don’t feel weak. So I slice open the red oceans in my arms and in my stomach and on my thighs. I’m numb. I feel nothing. I drift away in my private pool, warm and fuzzy and blissfully unaware. I’m happy here and as my spirit lifts itself out of my body, I see a slight smile etch itself onto my pale face. I smile back. And then I wake up.

 

It’s cold and my covers have disappeared. But I don’t have the strength to reach to the floor and pull them over me. So I sit in the uncomfortable chill and wish I had the strength of the Me in my dreams.

 

Dream Me slices herself open nightly. A different way every time, but she always does it. She knows how to rid herself of the pain and agony and claustrophobic sadness. Real Me is not as strong. All she can do is control what goes into her body. And she is good at not letting anything but water and blueberries pass the slimy chamber.

 

Sometimes she fails and a stray French fry or apple slice will find its way inside. Then she’ll stand crouched over the toilet, finger poised to fire, but she’s always to weak to do what she needs to do. So the food sits in there like an intruder and has to be marched out by pills that do that sort of thing.

 

Dream Me is stronger. She says no to the boy that slid her pink skirt up her belly. When he held her down in the closet she spoke instead of remaining silent like the Real Me did. She struggled and winced and screamed and scratched. Real Me just laid there like a limp doll, closing her eyes and telling herself to become numb. To stop feeling. A million thoughts raced through her head but not a single one of them told her to run. At least not when she was there in that closet with her boyfriend on top of her and her underwear to the side.

 

And when it was over, Real Me held back tears and words and feelings and became numb. She started herself on a regimen of water and berries. Her eyes went from green to grey. Her stomach became a cave, her ribs standing sentinel, each keeping strict watch. Her hipbones were two spikes that warned those that tried not to get any closer. Her legs were twigs that threatened to snap under the weight of it all.

 

But he ignored the spiky hipbones and rib guards. He tore the twigs apart and told her that she wanted this. Her silence was acceptance and the Real Me was broken. That’s when the dreams started, when I fantasized about ending it all and being stronger than my weak self in the world.

 

But sometimes, Dream Me would sneak out of her prison cell and inhabit the real world. That’s how I got the spindly scars that twist around my arms and stomach and legs. He never noticed. Even when he would crack open the scabs and blood would creep out and stain my body with grotesque memories and horrible secrets. And I still never spoke.

 

Four years have gone by and the dreams still haunt me. I know that when I close my eyes at night I will surely see red and the boy and blades and food. Nobody else has noticed but I can’t separate Dream Me from the Real Me anymore. When the red oceans spill out of my wrists and I wear long sleeves for weeks, I can’t tell who did that to me.

 

I don’t think that Dream Me is brave anymore. She scares me when she cuts me up. When I tell her that I don’t want to be her she acts like she can’t hear. Like I’m really the silent girl that I’ve been pretending to be for four years. Or maybe she’s right. Maybe my silence has drowned the girl that used to live in my body. Maybe she is me. Maybe she’s alive. Maybe I’m dead.

shadows.

I am nothing

I am a feather

I am a shadow

Flitting around

At my feet

 

Choruses of white coats

Tell me that I should not smile

When they tell me that I am a shadow

But I do

 

I eat their words

And they nourish my soul

Because I need nourishment

At least that’s what they tell me

 

They say, “Too thin”

I Chew

They say, “You need to eat”

I Taste

They say, “You weighed in at 090.00 pounds”

I Swallow

 

This is my food

These are my meals

Words, delicious words

Roll around my mouth

 

And I take them up

And divide them into halves then fourths then eighths

And I eat them

The only thing I want in my stomach

The only thing that’s allowed

 

The white coats have stopped talking

And I am wasting away

I beg for words, for scales, for numbers

But the white coats and white shoes

Zip their lips and throw away the key

 

I need to unlock their cellars

Their mouths are my food

I cannot feed myself

Because the mirror screams

Fat! Fat! Fat!

Ugly! Ugly! Ugly!

Weak! Weak! Weak!

 

The worried looks are all that feed me now

The looks that say, “She’s a ghost, a shadow”

They are almost enough to keep me going

But I am getting weaker

I am failing

I ate an apple today

i’ve been locked up for some time now.

“I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.” I’m surprised I can even say this, for how untrue it is. But I’ve been saying it a lot nowadays. People like to hear this after you’ve been released from the hospital. People like to hear how well you’re doing. People like to hear that they don’t have to worry, have to think, have to question, have to feel.

 

My family members smile, long waning smiles that look like wax smears. Their eyes are glazed and they mutter something stupid like, “That’s so good to hear”. Emphasis on the so.  But then they wander away, relieved to be free of the burden that talking to me so often is.

 

I drain the rest of my wine glass as my mother looks sternly at me. So I pour myself another. My family still doesn’t know how to speak to me. It shouldn’t be that hard, I mean, I’m still a human. What do you normally ask a human but, “How are you?” and how hard is that for your own flesh and blood?

 

But instead of asking how I am or how I feel or who I am, all I get are worried looks and tense requests to pass the peas. It astounds me that they can be content to live their lives not knowing their daughter any more than an employer or college admissions officer could by reading a few black lines on crisp white sheets of paper.

 

I gave up trying years ago. Back then, I gleefully shared my soul with them and all I got in return were scolds and restrictions and disappointed conversations. They were ashamed of who I was, so I learned to hide my true identity from them and only show them what they wanted to see. They wanted good grades and high aspirations and a secure career. I naturally got good grades and had high aspirations and my career of choice is secure enough, so this sedated them without much effort.

 

But some things cannot be hidden. Things like collapsing and being admitted to the hospital for an eating disorder. Things like a lifetime full of feeling insecure and incomplete. Things like being locked up in my head for some time now. These things cannot be hidden.

 

My family marched dutifully to the hospital, fussing over the wrong things and speaking of things that I did not care about. They talked about every thing one could talk about except one. They talked about frozen pipes and high school scandals and the traffic on the way here but they never once asked, “How are you?” Like they did my doctors and nurses and roommates.

 

But now I’m out and it’s Christmas and I’m saying that I’m fine but I’m really sneaking upstairs after every bite to throw it up and I taste like acid but my perfume covers it up and my family comments on how nice I smell and look and seem.

 

How nice I seem. How silly is that? Don’t they know that you can get past how things “seem” by just asking and looking? But people prefer to look on the surface. They’re afraid that if they dig deeper they’ll find out something they don’t want to know. And then it would be their responsibility and for once in their life they’d have to do something besides smile and clap and watch. They’d have to do. And doing something is perhaps the scariest thing of all for a person who has been sitting their whole life.

 

And so they continue smiling their wax smiles and laughing their tired laughs and sitting their practiced sit. And they watch their lives and others pass them by as they sit, blindly asking vapid questions with a deaf ear. And they nod politely when a girl smelling of bile and guilt tells them that she’s happier than she’s been in a long time. They spread their lips in its familiar tracks and nod up and down up and down. They nod until the world is a blur and seeing is no longer a possibility. The girl is no longer their problem. They can’t see her. She must not exist.

happy haiku

They want happiness

For me, but they do not know

What happiness is.

blue.

Blue. That’s all I can remember. Later they told me that I jumped, but I only see blue. Sometimes, if I think really hard, I can see you. But that’s only sometimes.

 

It’s strange, I thought that I would never have found myself here – I mean, does anyone? Chained to a hospital bed, arms held to my sides, IVs pumping strange cold liquid into my bloodstream.

 

I’m dreaming now. It’s vivid, what I see. Every time I drift off, I hope to rid myself of the worried, anxious faces gathered around me, crying sometimes, checking my papers, eating food.

 

My dream – it’s the same start every time. My breath stalls, my eyes bulge, I’m surrounded by blue. Light flickers in through sheets of aqua, darkness grabs me by chilling indigo, air bubbles fly by, late for some meeting they marked up on their calendars too long ago to remember. And I sink down to the depths and watch the aqua sheets slowly turn to navy then indigo then black.

 

But now I’m awake again and they’re trying to ask me something. They’re always trying to ask me something. Why? They always sob to me when the figures in the white coats leave. They don’t speak when the stiff bodies in white are in the room. The white coats ask me easier questions, things like, Can you see this, can you feel this, are you hungry?

 

The crowded room makes me anxious. I start to ask myself the question they hurl at me – why? I’m still not sure. I’m not even too sure where I am or what got me here. The only thing I know for sure is blue.

 

Well, blue and you. My memory is lined with uncertainty and the strain of thinking forces me into sleep. Blue envelopes my mind, pressing down uncomfortably until I can’t breathe anymore. I claw around, scratch toward the flickering light I see above me. I don’t want to reach the top but my lungs are begging, pleading. They bargain with me, Please, please, we’ll change; we’ll do anything, just take us to the top! I can’t, I tell them, The top is what made this happen, The top is what did this to you. My lungs fight back, resist. But I’ve won, and the pressure is gone and I’m floating in peace and the top doesn’t exist and blue carries me through the current like a lamb in shepherd’s arms.

 

I awake as if breaking the surface of water, I gasp and gulp down stale hospital air. I flail around as much as possible in my restraints. The people freeze, eyebrows knit tightly together, hands uncomfortably clenching. One woman starts hysterically crying and runs out. For the first time since I’ve been here, I look around more studiously. Faces, blurred and forgotten, stare back at me and my mind starts to work itself into anxiety again. But wait. At the end of the long line is you – and I can see more than blue.

 

Memories roll across my mind like an old film. Friendship, love, summer, trees, snow, winter, ice, heartbreak, you. And I see the bridge. I see my arms arc above me and I feel the rocks zipped into my heavy coat and I remember thinking how heavy it was, diving into the river. I had a note taped to the bench by the bridge. A warm tingle of embarrassment passes through me when I realize that the sad blurry faces must have read it and that’s the reason they’re asking me, why?

 

Time has passed now. I’m out of the sterile white hospital with restraints and needles and food trays. It’s strange, people have stopped asking me why but I haven’t stopped seeing blue. That’s life, I suppose. Normalcy is equilibrium. But I can’t seem to get there. I’ll just have to get used to seeing blue.

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