There’s nothing wrong with me they say, so I grow up never telling them how sometimes the urge to split my skin in half where it’s most thin and palest overpowers any kind of will I have to live. I’ve created this sadness myself, an illusion I feed, they say, so I grow up never sharing the times it felt more natural to want to walk into the ocean than it did to breathe.
I take to my journal instead, and I tell it how sometimes I go through periods where I can’t even take up to one of my favorite things, lighting candles and sitting in a bath, because I’m afraid of how easy it would be to sink my head under the water. How I’m afraid I wouldn’t come up for air when I stopped holding my breath. How I find it cruelly comical that I sometimes only think of these things because all I need to do is catch my breath, but I can’t. I write in it and question if I’m depressed, or if there’s something inherently flawed in me that rejects joy and normalcy.
I cry, I smile, through the seasons, sometimes not even feeling a thing. Spring comes and blooms bitter on my tongue. Summer wraps its hands around my throat and slashes at my skin. September comes and I still haven’t touched the sun. December gets here and I find myself at the foot of the grave of someone I’m supposed to be.
Sometimes I think I’m getting better, I’m going to therapy and taking my medicine. I think this thing I feel, it won’t always be there. But then, there I am again, laying flowers at the headstone of happiness. Fantasizing about walking into traffic at the intersection of Main and Melancholy.
I wonder if I’ll ever be okay, and not just on the surface. Will my craving for life ever weigh more than the things I feel so heavily? Will my heart ever eclipse all this emptiness? How is it that I can feel everything digging into every curve of my bone, and yet, I can feel absolutely nothing at all?
I pray to gods I don’t believe in, I ask of the moon, and write letters to the Universe, to please not let these things define me. I ask the wind to knock on my window and tell me there’s so much more to me than these things I’ve fought my whole life. There’s this girl in me that loves so loud, that craves ecstasy, that is addicted to the beautiful things in life, please tell me this is who I am, please tell me I’m not a mausoleum.
Last night I started making a list of reasons why I’m still here. What has stopped me? And I heard the rain at my window, the leaves dancing against the branches with the wind, and I thought of storms. How I feel the electricity of lightning every time I hear it thunder. How it is one of my most favorite sounds.
I thought about the melody of the ocean, about how the sound can put me to sleep and calm even the most violent of hurricanes inside me. I thought of my hair flying with the wind, my feet in that place where the waves meet the sand, looking at that place where the sky meets the sea.
I thought, I’m still here for so much.
I haven’t reread all of my favorite books yet, and there’s so many on my to-read list I haven’t gotten to. I want to lose myself in each one.
I’m still here because of all of the poetry. The poetry I haven’t read. The poetry I come back to time and time again. The poetry my fingers have yet to write.
I’m here because there’s so many verses laying dormant inside of me that taste less of heartache and more of cotton candy pink skies. I’m here because I haven’t found the love of my life yet. I’m here because I want to write that person poetry and spend nights in their arms reading my pages to them. I’m still here because I don’t want to die without knowing what real love is. Because despite ways I’ve been hurt, I still believe in it.
I’m here because I know I’ll be okay, even if I don’t find it. If I love myself enough, no one else needs to love me.
I thought of all l the places I’ve been to and all the places I still haven’t been. I’m here because I still have so much traveling left to do.
Art has saved me. Art can move me, make me feel, comfort me, and bring me to my knees. I’m here because there’s so many museums that house extraordinary artists that speak to me. Because there’s still so many of them I haven’t walked through.
I’m here because I want to be a better painter, because putting colors on a canvas soothes me and I find it therapeutic. I’m here because I really want to get better at it.
All the learning I haven’t done yet has stopped me from giving in to the dark thing.
I’m still living because I’m looking forward to my next hot cup of tea. Because I’m really craving a gin and tonic. Because I still have bottles of nice champagne to drink and things I have yet to celebrate. I’m here for that feeling I get around my friends, when we laugh so hard it hurts. I’m here because anytime I laugh, smile, or even cry, it gives me hope.
I remembered my father’s ranch in Mexico, and how clear the night skies are there, how I can look at every star looking back at me with a glimmer of promise.
I’m here because I’ve come to learn that I feel unfulfilled and I’ve discovered new dreams. I want to stay because I feel an urgency to live out all of them.
I’m here because even when it hurts so much that I wish the ceiling would collapse on me, I can’t stop my obsession with lipsticks. I live for every burgundy, plum and shade of red. I’m here because I can’t stop obsessing with perfumes, either. Because I am almost all out of the seven I own and I need to re-up. I’m here because I can own multiple at a time, but I’ll always crave Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb sticky and sweaty on my neck and cleavage.
I live for the feeling of a man’s stubble rubbing against sensitive parts of my skin. Against my throat, my cheek, and the inside of my thighs.
I’m here because I am reminded that I can think of a thousand things that feel just as good.
I’m here because I am not ready to say goodbye to any of those things.
My father tells me the problem is me, that it’s all in my head and that there is nothing wrong with me. My mother says I’m not happy because I don’t want to be. I admit that perhaps she’s half-right, but there’s this other half of me that I’ve never been able to control, to hold, to keep from falling down a cold, wet, hole.
What’s wrong with you, they ask me as an adult, and I always say what they’ve always wanted to hear. Nothing. The truth is, sometimes I think everything is.
I am here because writing this has made me realize I want to look at them and say so much.
I am here because I know I have people who love me, because I still believe in the healing power of love, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to it.
To any of it.