All The Quiet Days
Quiet days were never enough for me. I hungered for silence, for the illusion of being miles away from shore, from the lake, from the other little houses that were just like my own. I would find and relish the days where I couldn’t move, finding myself sinking back into the hardwood floor again. It was a self-inflicted morphine, a gift of the mind to keep the pressures of the world at bay. Feeling adrift and alone and mostly, cold. We all think we're untouchable when we're alone, but we forget that we're like fish, swimming in an ocean of air. There's always air, always sound, and always something touching you.
I had an invulnerability from the vague pressure, a detachment, and I thought this meant I was safe. Everything slipped right through me, never reaching me. Instead, the days seeped into a hidden part of me, and pooled somewhere in my dreams to visit me later. I gained a cold sort of strength, the kind that wrung out all the tears until you were dry; dry and brittle. Life went on, year by year, and I lived in an everyday sort of anguish. It was a familiar and a secretly selfish joy, to cry deeply into my hands, feeling my eyes explode and my throat crushing my windpipes so nobody could hear. I was so full of hidden pride and shame. Pride that I was able to keep all this shit quiet and hidden. Shame that it existed in the first place, this wrongness that was inborn, and a part of me. It was the only emotion I could feel, and although I despised the dark flooding that convulsed my body, it was the only feeling I allowed myself to have: a rich and heavy, sweet and submerging self-hatred. It made me feel like a monster, which was preferable to feeling like nothing. It felt like this, only this, was what I should be allowed to feel. There was never any real relief.
I stopped the day I saw the wrinkle appear under my right eye.
It greets me in the mirror every morning. It says hello when I don’t sleep. It reminds me that I’m getting older, and that I don’t have as many days as I thought I would have. It’s less important now. Lots of things are less important now. Sometimes the little things in life, that grit and slow grind, all those things that build up and build up until it breaks a part of you, well, the fracture in me happened just under my right eye. It was like justice visited me, and in my own twisted logic, I felt like I finally got what I deserved. I felt happy with the punishment. I felt absolved.
We don’t deserve anything. Not the pain in our lives, or the damage that happens to us through the frankly dangerous process of living. We don’t deserve happiness either, but we receive it, bountifully. I suppose that’s what I was always upset about: receiving and giving and trading in emotions but never understanding what I was doing in the first place, and always wondering what seemed wrong, not understanding the gentle balance in me was tipping further and further into somewhere it should never have gone.
Or perhaps I was just upset about nothing at all.