There are too many rules that make writing this close to impossible. I was told I had to have a reason for it. Though not just any reason – it had to be solid, impervious to solutions that they now develop in the form of pills or a television series or alcohol. It had to withstand the harshest attacks any human can throw at an emotion. I couldn’t just Feel with no particular aforementioned solid, impervious reason. To claim destruction and tragedy I had to have gone through destruction or tragedy. Both would be ideal. Throw in a dead pet in there. Then we’ll talk.
But I can’t say that I have met all the unspoken criterion. I do know, however, that this feels like an unwelcome guest whenever it sits inside me, and that’s about as close to the truth as I can muster. There’s something massively unnerving about constantly having something or someone else live inside you that you don’t know whether they’re an extension of yourself or they were never a part of your matter, that somewhere along the way, you picked it up inadvertently and cooed and coddled it so much and so often that it thought it belonged. When it didn’t. Parasites don’t often belong inside your head.
Let me tell you about my creature though, because it’s the sort of thing that begs to be described. Literally – it’s begging me – I have not heard more whining and pleading more than when I try to talk about it. This waters it. It digs its roots deeper, but in some way, I am satiated in the knowledge that I can still use simple enough words to express its existence – that way I know I didn’t make it up. Something so well-descriped had to be deliberate.
Alright. It’s small. It’s not a big thing, not really. But it fills space with the skill of liquid molecules. Or gas. It smells like pillows. Old, well-loved ones, not the freshly-purchased kinds that doesn’t have the musty sting of the past tied to its end strings. It likes the idea of me leaving, or turning off, or starting over, or ending. It likes me to do the sort of thing that will demand attention that I will not receive. Like going off to a different continent for 6 months. Or refusing to speak. Or finding myself constantly unable to speak. I don’t think I control any of that. If I had my way, I would be far more well-adjusted with my self-expression. But it, this thing, doesn’t allow me to do that – not verbally anyway. Not in the physical presence of another human being whom I might desperately want to reveal all to. The thing scampers off somewhere inside me and hides. When it hides, even if it’s scurries into some crevice inside me still, I tend to forget all lack of sense and I find myself feeling quite silly. Quite silly, and quite logical.
I’m starting to think it’s a bottle, or at least moulded to look and act like one, and every drip of memory is restrained in its imagined confines. It doesn’t grow in size, but it does its job with keeping everything inside. Sometimes it’s a serpent though. Serpent-like. These times it makes a bit more sense, and I can feel it raise its head like a python out of a basket whenever I blow the flute.
Lately, over the course of six or seven (or eight or nine or fifteen, I’ve lost count) months, I find myself entertaining the idea of shedding. Just to see what would stick, what would refuse to budge from my existence. I don’t hope for much but I mostly hope it would be people. I mostly want to prove myself wrong on the noxious thoughts I have that if I were to do this, nobody would put up that much of a resistance. The thing with me is that I want resistance. I want to be able to declutter and find things sneaking back into my life. It makes me feel necessary. I very hardly feel necessary.
When I coddle these thoughts, the creature, it tends to be when I’m left quite alone with my head that I don’t know what else to do in particular. It hurts doing this, but it feels better to hurt tangibly than to feel it slinking around inside me like a dark vapour rising from sleep whenever I cast a thought about its presence. Rising from sleep is the worst, you know. When you remember what your default setting is, that’s the worst.
It sounds like I’ve managed to make this as romantic as possible, but there is little romance in this. I have no compulsion to keep feeling these things other than my own psychological compulsion and that has proven to be slightly out of my control. I want to feel better. I feel like I haven’t been better for a solid amount of time for about ten years, and it makes me wonder if I’m a master at making things up or if I’m a master of drawing things out. The thought that I don’t entertain much is that everyone feels this way all the time. I know everyone feels this way at some point in their lives. But I would very much like to find out if this is common headspace and I just haven’t caught on to this yet. Missed the memo. Now I’m harping on cyclical pseudo-depression like it’s something new and undiscovered.
I’m afraid to stop writing because once I do the heaviness will return and I can’t afford another moment with that thing right now.
I’m also afraid that one day I’ll wake up and realise that the only way I can get rid of this is to get rid of myself. That purging the parasite means purging the host entirely. That maybe I’m already diseased by the toxins and I’m too far gone to feel like an average, healthy person again.
I’m afraid of waking up one day and learning that this is my addiction to pain and attention and sensitivity. That there was nothing to begin with. Nothing in itself really scares me. Frankly, I’m tired of being scared.