It’s rainy days, when the sun feels like it has already set and the sky grumbles on an empty stomach, that make me wonder. And I’m not usually the deep wondering type, no, not me. I’m a sheep, the one that follows the herd, the one that likes to take orders, and the one that goes, “baaa,” when everyone else does. But I begin to wonder if the simple act of knowing, of knowing that you are part of the herd, of knowing that you live brainwashed and consenting to live like that anyway, I wonder it that makes you slightly different than the rest.
I’m not that girl. I’m not that person, even. I’m not the one that will be remembered beyond their death. I’m not the one that leaves clouds of smoke behind when they begin to disappear. And it’s happening now, my disappearance. Like the time I fell in love, I can’t see it but I can feel it. I feel myself starting to disappear, and I’m not leaving cloudy trails behind. I had no smoke to begin with. When I disappear, I will simply evaporate and no one will know there’s one missing from the herd. No one was counting, anyway. The collective “baaa” will still be heard, and no one will notice that it is the tiniest fraction of a decibel fainter. But it is.
We all like to believe that we are different. That we are set apart. We are set apart, but why? Is it because we rationalize, or is it because we feel? It always seems to be one or the other. The never-ending tug-of-war of head versus heart. Our heads are higher than our hearts, and emotions, well, they cloud our judgment and make us do silly rash things. But sometimes my heart tugs a little harder. Sometimes I feel it weigh and it might burst. Like when I eat too much and my stomach sticks out. Just like that, but inside my chest and behind my ribcage.
I refuse to believe this is all a simple reaction of chemicals to my brain. When I think chemicals, I think liquids and perfectly shaped flask bottles. I think bubbling reactions turning blue, and sometimes flimsy smoke. Hell, I even think cleaning products like Windex and Lysol. But not, not ever, ecstasy, uneasiness, loneliness, hope, despair, and confusion. When I think chemicals I don’t think of flask bottles inside me, and I refuse to believe we are walking chemical reactions. I want to believe in the unpredictable bottling of anger, happiness or sadness and the inevitable overflow of tears once you reach the brim. Spilling and spilling.
I cried the other day. It was a burst, an inevitable sob, and then I just couldn’t stop. I can’t remember how it started but it wouldn’t stop. It wouldn’t stop, even though I told it to. This is ridiculous, please stop, stop it now. Shit, girl, pull yourself together, I said. And I couldn’t. I just couldn’t and I don’t know why. So this is when I start to wonder and begin to believe that maybe, just maybe we are more complex than the herd. We are individuals. When you cry, the whole herd doesn’t cry with you. Cry and you cry alone. There is no herd and there is no one. We are complex. We are volatile, we are flammable. We can explode at any given time, or we can sizzle and fade. This is when I start to think that maybe we are walking chemical reactions. We react. Ha, get it? React.
The fact that my situation can be ripped apart, torn to its individual pieces and looked at, singular bit by bit, makes it lose meaning. Or maybe it gives it more meaning than there ever was. Tell me, what were your thoughts prior to this “reaction?” What were your childhood traumas? Tell me, tell me more. I care. As soon as I asked myself why, it lost its beauty. And yes, it was beautiful. Sadness is beautiful in the most heart wrenching beauty there is. They go hand in hand. You cannot look at a lazy river, with its dirty green banks and musical silence, and not feel a tiny bit sad. Is it because we have it engraved in our deepest cuts, like a tattoo reminder, that nothing lasts forever? Whoever came up with such morbidity? Thank you, sir, that was wonderful, that was philosophically groundbreaking, that was brilliant, and that ruined my fucking life.
I do wonder why I am the way I am. I react. I am more reactive than proactive. But what can you expect, with my inescapable fear of confrontation, my steel barrier in the face of criticism, and my bubble of personal distance? Yet sometimes I do feel a sense of pride and self-love. Girl, you did something. You did something good, something special. Yea, that feeling? It quickly goes away. It goes away like it didn’t even matter what I did. Like I had absolutely nothing to feel proud of from the start. Like I was a stupid, foolish little thing for ever thinking I had done something worth feeling proud of. Like I had done something worth receiving praise. Yea, that feeling? That feeling is long gone, and I couldn’t hold on to it. Because I am not that person.
Whether I’m in a herd or an individual, I will remain unnoticed, because I don’t leave trails behind. Maybe I’m an individual inside the herd. But even that will remain unnoticed. A smaller part of me wants to yell. A smaller part of me wants to leave behind a dirty, dirty mess. Clothes on the floor, breadcrumbs, grease stains and huge, huge trails of dust. Such a mess that even the bravest neat freak will not dare touch it, will not dare clean it up. A mess that big. But I’m not that person. I am not a messy person, and my footsteps are light and I clean up well. You couldn’t even tell I was there.
Perhaps, like most things in life, I hope I am wrong this time as well. Maybe, just maybe, others don’t see me disappear. To them, I am tangible, visible and solid. Maybe I have tried to yell and though I thought my vocal cords produced no sound, maybe in the midst of it all I was heard. Maybe I have people tripping over my mess, falling and stumbling upon it, and shaking their heads and fists at that hurricane of a girl that just ran by and left all this mess behind. And they have no idea how to clean it up. Maybe every time I walk out of a room I leave massive destruction. Maybe that silent yell of mine still rings in their ears when they toss and turn at night. Maybe, just maybe, nobody else sees me disappear. To them, I am solid, visible and tangible. Maybe I am that type of person. You know, that type. But then, why, tell me, why do I still feel like I’m disappearing? It’s rainy days like these that make me wonder.