I make playlists of the same five songs so I have something to drown in besides my thoughts. I walk to a bar in my neighborhood and sit on the bench outside, tipsy and smoking a cigarette at 7 p.m. as I watch the employees set up for the night. Two hours later, I climb into bed and do not leave it for three days.
When a friend offers to come to the counselor with me, I tell her I have not yet figured out how to communicate the black water inside of me without frothy waves of it spilling out. When my ex-boyfriend texts me, ‘It took them finding me hanging a noose in the basement to snap me out of it,’ I stop looking both ways before I cross the street. I thirstily lap up crash statistics and walk into bars sober, looking for the drunkest boy to drive me home. When I go home, I punch my mistakes into my cheek and tell my co-workers I slipped on the ice when they ask why I can only open my jaw halfway.
When another friend mentions the purple bags beneath my eyes I say, ‘I’m fine. I’m just tired.’ When a teacher emails me asking why I haven’t been to class in two weeks I type, ‘None of the lecture material can teach me how to climb out of a black hole,’ then erase it and write: ‘Personal issues.’ When my boyfriend asks where I was the night before, I do not tell him about sitting in the middle of the street, waiting. I smile and say, ‘Oh, I was just downstairs doing homework.’ When my mom calls to check in on me, I burst into tears.
It is months before I take a crack at my own insides with a hammer. I smash this, I smash that. My lungs collapse, my ribs shatter. My heart goes up in flames. When I am through, I lie beaten up on the kitchen floor, but take satisfaction in explaining to the doctor, ‘It was self-defense. I needed to tear myself apart to pick myself up again.’
I’m Fine, I’m Just Tired | Lora Mathis (via soggypoetry)