You Are No Longer A Part Of My Story

Mickael Gresset / Unsplash

I read somewhere that your skin replaces itself every seven years – that who I am now is not who I was seven years ago; that one day, I will have a body you will have never touched.

I am wondering if the brain works the same way as the skin. Will my memories replace themselves too? It has been six years now, and I still wake from dreams where I picture your face perfectly. If I close my eyes tight enough, I can see the constellation of freckles on your back. I spent five years memorizing the details of your life and burning them into the back of my mind; I have spent longer trying to escape the maze of the memory that is the layout of your childhood home.

The knife did not nick my skin but I still keep my hands to my throat 6 years later. It is a defense mechanism, an automatic reaction. I try to think of poetic metaphors to explain how I am still so afraid of everything, but the blood always rushes from my head and instead I am imagining it on the floor in front of the door of the house in the woods. It stains the wood grain; it gets matted in the cat’s white paws. Somewhere, in the hush between the trees, I had said: “please, stay.”

Now, I would have rather you cut out my tongue.

The skin on my neck — is that new yet? Or is it only my hands that have forgotten how to hold you? Will time erase more of this muscle memory so that one day I might wake up entirely free from the nervous, reactionary, ticks I picked up? Or is all of this an ongoing side effect of the drug I had taken, the one mislabeled ‘Love’? I am trying to regain my senses but it is difficult when I lost them so long ago. Sometimes I think I left them scattered behind the house in the woods, buried where my body could have been.

There was nothing poetic about your exit; it is a book I want to burn. But I can’t set fire to the fundamental beginning of who I am.

I am the girl who keeps boys who cut her with words; I am the girl that asks the one with his hands around my throat to stay, to place them on me in other places later in the night.

I am also the girl who found the strength to erase you from her story. I am the girl who grew to realize that what has already been written cannot be erased, but that there is always the ability to create new chapters.

I want to wonder what will happen after the seven years, what will happen if I never forget or feel whole again. I want to get lost in the memory of your childhood home, searching in cupboards and behind closed doors for the good times that I was so certain were once there. I want to scrub myself raw, bathe in bleach, finish what you started — anything to speed up the time it takes to get you off my body and out of my mind.

Instead, I start a new chapter.

I turn the page, I shed some skin, I continue to begin again. TC mark

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Dating with a skin condition can be challenging.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa can make navigating the world of dating frustrating. Thankfully, there are many effective ways of coping that make dating rewarding while also helping you grow as a person.

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